Five Midfield Targets For Manchester United

With Manchester United said to be in the market for another midfielder, Ian Watson looks at the five possible targets for Louis van Gaal...

Last Updated: 06/08/14 at 16:29 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Football Folk On TV: Robbie Savage

29 comments

He's the driver of the banter bus who's the most likely man in football to tell you the price of his watch. But is Robbie Savage actually just a vulnerable puppy in a harsh world?

All Articles

1) William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)
United have been psyching themselves up to make an offer for over six months now, with their interest in Carvalho dating back to before Christmas, when David Moyes must have discovered the Sporting Lisbon powerhouse in his famed transfer bunker at Carrington.

It was only last season, though, that Carvalho established himself in the Sporting side, with the 22-year-old set to make his boyhood team one million euros for every first-team game he has played. The 6ft 2in Portugal international looks like a heavyweight boxer and possesses the subtlety of one, but that may be just what United need.

Louis van Gaal will inherit numerous neat and tidy passers but little physical presence and even fewer ball winners, which is exactly what Carvalho does: break up opposition attacks and pass the ball on to more technically gifted team-mates.


2) Kevin Strootman (Roma)
United turned their noses up at Strootman last summer when he joined Roma for £13.5million - half of a Fellaini. According to some reports, the Red Devils are willing to pay double that figure now.

Van Gaal is huge fan of Strootman and viewed the uncompromising 24-year-old as one of his 'big three' for the World Cup along with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben. Then the holding midfielder tore a cruciate ligament in March, ruling him out until the autumn. This has not deterred the new United manager, though, who is said to be prepared to wait until January for his man.

In the meantime, he may not have to look far for a stop gap...


3) Nigel De Jong (AC Milan)
De Jong is hardly unique as a Dutchman being touted as a United target. Every one of the ten outfield players who Van Gaal chose to start the victories over Spain and Australia have been linked to varying degrees over recent weeks. But in De Jong's case, the rumours seem to carry with them an element of realism.

The Dutch destroyer is remembered as the thug who attempted open heart surgery on Xabi Alonso using only his studs, but so what? United could do with a little of that steel and determination - someone happy to be the nasty b*****d while the likes of Herrera, Mata, Kagawa and Rooney weave pretty patterns ahead of him.

De Jong is more than a bully, though. At 29, he offers vast experience and an intelligence to complement his dogged determination at the base of the midfield. Said to be available for less than £10million - still double what AC Milan paid Manchester City for him two years ago - Van Gaal will look upon De Jong as a cheap and trustworthy option, certainly in the short-term.


4) Sami Khedira (Real Madrid)
The Germany international has apparently been deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, with United, Chelsea and Arsenal all said to be squabbling over Real's scraps.

The 27-year-old is entering the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu but that doesn't mean he will be cheap. The latest valuation appears to be around the £23million mark, but Van Gaal may look upon that as a bargain for a player as experienced, disciplined and intelligent as Khedira.

Joachim Low calls him "indispensable" but it is only because of a near-miraculous recovery from a serious knee injury that he is with the Germany squad at all at the World Cup. As a defensive midfielder, he seems to be just the type of individual the new United boss covets: a grafter who carries out his coach's instructions to the letter.


5) Arturo Vidal - (Juventus)
The Chilean is reportedly Van Gaal's number one target, but Juventus are understood to be reluctant to do business. Given the quality the all-action Chilean possesses, you can hardly blame the Old Lady for ignoring Ed Woodward's phone calls.

Vidal is now on holiday after a positive World Cup campaign, which followed a fantastic season with the Serie A winners. The 27-year-old - one of the last great box-to-boxers - scored 18 goals in 44 appearances for Juve and laid on five more.

Like the midfield greats of the Ferguson era, Bryan Robson and Roy Keane, Vidal can do it all. Away at Manchester City, he'll go as close as anyone to stopping Yaya Toure. Then, the following week when United are struggling to break down Stoke or Newcastle at home, Vidal will burst on to a loose ball and expertly beat whichever keeper stands in his way.

Van Gaal's admiration is nothing new. The coach tried to buy Vidal from Bayer Leverkusen for Bayern Munich in 2011, but he opted to join Juventus instead. The player is reported to be willing to join Van Gaal this time, but having only signed a new deal until 2017 last December, Juventus will squeeze every last penny out of United. Whatever they pay, Vidal is likely to be worth it, but whether they will be willing to match the Bianconeri's valuation remains to be seen.

Ian Watson - Follow him on Twitter

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

inners: All of us watching the latest installment of The Daley Blind Hour. This weeks episode was called Sun Kissed In Merseyside, and although it was a bit of a downer, he was splendid to look at.

tk421
Has Di Maria's Spell In England Turned Sour?

I

think Liverpool should start trying alternative therapy now, given that Sturridge's hips and knees are apparently unfathomable to modern medicine. Voodoo, acupuncture, healing oils, rolling in the snow after a hot bath, its all got to be worth a go now.

slideways
Sturridge doubt for run-in

W

ell thats the most one sided, Mourinho ass kissing, Terry loving conlcusions I have ever read. Does Daniel Storey have a tattoo of the Chelsea crest on his calf too? What a plonker.

goonergo
16 Conclusions: Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Bournemouth all but secure promotion to the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Bolton

Bournemouth all but secured promotion to the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Bolton on Monday night.

Jose Mourinho: Cesc Fabregas not in PFA team 'strange'

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says it is 'strange' that the PFA Team of the Year has no place for Cesc Fabregas.

Eddie Howe dishes out the plaudits after Bournemouth success

Eddie Howe was keen to share the praise around after Bournemouth effectively clinched promotion to the Premier League.

Mail Box

Mail From Fan Who Craves Relegation...

In this case it's a Sunderland fan who just wants to see a clear-out. We also have mails about Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton. It's long and it's sexy...

Is This What Arsenal Fans Feel Like?

'It's all well with the short and pretty passes, but we did absolute f*** all up front,' writes one Man United fan. We have mails on Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers and...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company