There’s only four days remaining of the summer transfer window but plenty of work is still to be done at Manchester United.
The Red Devils wrapped up a record-breaking deal for Angel Di Maria earlier this week, yet few would argue, following a shock 4-0 defeat to MK Dons, that United’s squad is ready for the Premier League campaign.
As deadline day looms however major deals become less and less likely, forcing clubs to seek last-minute viable alternatives.
So with that in mind and Jim White filling up the gas tank on the Sky Sports News helicopter, here’s SIX deadline day deals – some surprising, others less so, that the Carrington outfit could (and should) make.
A suggestion fuelled by conjecture perhaps, but could we see Manchester United make a late bid for Bayern Munich centre-back Dante?
Manchester United have taken a look at the Brazil international before, and could be enticed to revive their interest now that the German Champions have wrapped up a deal for Roma sensation Mehdi Benatia.
The 30 year-old endured a disappointing World Cup, with his only appearance coming amid Selacao’s 7-1 semi-final thrashing at the hands of Germany. But he’s been incredibly consistent after moving to the Allianz Arena in 2012, as shown in the below statistics, notching up an incredible eight trophies since:
Here’s a look at the 6 foot 2 defender in action:
As you can see, his greatest gift is winning the ball back and quickly moving it in the right direction. Manchester United need a defender like that right now, and the Bundesliga veteran would further add crucial experience to an incredibly young Red Devils defence, the oldest member being 26 year-old Johnny Evans.
Dante signed a one-year contract extension back in March but that suggests more that the Barvarians are protecting his value, rather than warding off viable suitors. The South American is still rated at around the £20million mark however and United will be reluctant to spend such a costly sum on a 30 year-old.
Paul Lambert claims he’s yet to receive an offer for key centre-back Ron Vlaar, but after an impressive World Cup campaign with the Netherlands, he’s been billed as a potential Manchester United target for much of the summer:
— Talking THFC™ (@TalkingTHFC) August 20, 2014
Concrete Ron may not be the most talented centre-back to ever grace Old Trafford but he’s as tough as, well, concrete, and Manchester United’s youthful three-man defence is crying out for a dominant figure to take on the central centre-back role.
The Aston Villa skipper would fit that requirement, having shone as the inside centre-back in Holland’s 3-5-2 formation at the World Cup. As viewable below, he showed outstanding form in Brazil:
Here’s a look at the defender in action for Oranje:
He may not be the world-class centre-back United fans are hoping for but they’re a bit of a rare breed nowadays. And after losing out on Mats Hummels, who is now Borussia Dortmund captain, the 29 year-old would be an interesting short-term alternative.
Another budget Dutchman reportedly in Manchester United’s transfer crosshairs is AC Milan defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong:
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) August 25, 2014
The 29 year-old, affectionately known as ‘The Lawn-mower’ for his bone-crunching tackles, was one of the better of a bad bunch at AC Milan last season and enjoyed a solid World Cup campaign with Oranje, as detailed below:
United’s midfield lacks physical menace but De Jong offers it in abundance. His Premier League experience is a major advantage too, having spent four seasons and won the English title with noisy neighbours Manchester City.
Here’s a look at the kind of ball-winning service De Jong provides:
Admittedly, sometimes he can be little overzealous:
And Manchester United will expect to land De Jong on the cheap, with the midfielder’s San Siro contract set to expire at the end of the season. It’s been alleged they could prize the Netherlands international away for as little as £8million.
Manchester United’s midfield is in serious need of reinforcements, so it’s rather fortuitous that Barcelona have placed a talented midfielder virtually in their laps.
— Daily Star Liverpool (@DS_LiverpoolFC) August 20, 2014
Allegedly, after struggling to impress during his two seasons at the Nou Camp, the Catalans are prepared to let the 26 year-old leave on a loan deal this summer – no fee required – with the view to take his services permanently for £8million.
Song’s no world-beater but he’s well proven at Premier League and Champions League level, having amassed 217 appearances during a seven-year stay with Arsenal. And in his last top flight campaign, the Cameroon international claimed an impressive eleven assists.
Here’s a look at Song in action for the Gunners:
There are certainly more attractive targets on Manchester United’s radar but if their arduous pursuit of Juventus star Arturo Vidal comes to no avail, expect their interest in Song to rapidly increase.
Jurgen Klopp has dismissed reports that Marco Reus will be allowed to leave this summer, but until Borussia Dortmund tie down their star forward to new terms, Manchester United will be determined to prize him away from Westfalen.
The 25 year-old unfortunately missed the World Cup through injury, but he was in absolutely lethal form last season, as detailed below, earning him the Bundesliga’s Player of the Year award:
Reus can adopt the roles of scorer or creator, capable of playing anywhere across the front or as a No.10. But his immense technical qualities are underpinned by his road-runner pace – something which the current United squad is desperately lacking in. Here’s a look at Reus in action:
The Germany international would give Louis van Gaal great options in attack – paralleling the goalscoring exploits of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, or allowing him to return to his more favoured 4-3-3 formation, used at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax. Perhaps most importantly, his pace would add a new, more direct dimension to the Red Devils going forward.
And as previously stated, Reus finds himself in a rather unique and appealing transfer situation. A £20million release clause was revealed earlier this month, and although it’s not set to come into effect until next summer, Dortmund will be aware that they’ll get a significantly greater mark-up on the Mannschaft forward if they sell now. Or more specifically, on deadline day.
It was assumed Manchester United’s pursuit of Juan Cuadrado was left dead in the water following the signing of Angel Di Maria, with the Carrington club’s transfer attentions firmly set on other targets, namely Arturo Vidal.
But the Fiorentina winger has given United a way back in, should they choose to take it, after refusing to rule out an Old Trafford switch earlier this week:
Juan Cuadrado won’t rule out a Manchester United move in this transfer window http://t.co/gpwqlzlrWD
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) August 25, 2014
The Colombia international was nothing short of incredible in Serie A last season, as detailed below, and did his price-tag no harm at the World Cup, tipping the tournament’s assists charts:
That includes this rather special set-up to James Rodriguez:
Combining his pace, trickery, athleticism and ability to finish from long-range, this goal typifies the 26 year-old:
Furthermore, Cuadrado is incredibly versatile. He’s predominantly considered a winger, but featured in a plethora of positions for Fiorentina last season and has also been billed as Dani Alves’ successor at Barcelona.
That could make him the perfect choice as the right wing-back in Louis van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 system, and the midfielder is rated at around £32million.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.