With Van der Sar and Gary Neville hanging up their boots, there is a shortage of experience in the defence, and so I expect to see some activity with a new goalkeeper and possibly another right-back.
David De Gea
Rarely does Sir Alex Ferguson state openly that the club likes a player, and has agreed personal terms with the player. However, with De Gea saying that he will not talk about his future till after the U21 championships, there is a slight question mark over the deal. Given his age and his ability, this could be a brilliant signing for United; a signing more in the mould of VDS rather than the club’s other great goalie, Schmeichel.
Verdict: Virtually a sure thing – 9/10; Release clause expected to be around 20 million GBP
Hutton is a cheap bargain for an experienced right-back with big match experience. Harry Redknapp is looking to clear some of his oversized squad. Kyle Walker looked good in his loan spell with Villa, so Hutton will be on the fringe at White Hart Lane and could be available for 5-6 Million GBP. The defence does look settled on the flanks with both the Da Silva twins finding their feet this season, and O’Shea overcoming his injury issues.
Verdict: Unlikely – 4/10
The highly rated Lens center-back has been on the radar of European elites. However, Man United are well stacked in defensive options at the moment and need strengthening in other areas of the squad. Nevertheless, Varane is more than capable of playing as a defensive midfielder, an attribute which highlights his versatility. With the transfer amount rumored to be around a meager 4 Million GBP, Fergie might yet see the talented Frenchmen as value for money.
Verdict: Possible – 6/10; 4-5 Million GBP
A product of the youth academy, he is expected to get more first team chances next season. He is very composed on the ball and looks to have a future at the club, but could possibly be loaned out to the Championship.
Having been Van der Sar’s deputy for three years now, he is looking for first team opportunities next season. However, his performances this season have hardly been satisfactory. With a good backup in Lindegaard having been signed and Amos looking good for the reserves, his stay at the club could soon be over. His first touch this year has been bad, and handling of crosses has been faulty.
Verdict: Likely, 7/10; 2-3 Million GBP
A loyal servant for more than a decade now, Brown’s first team duties are now decreasing with only an occasional appearance. With both Evans and Smalling above him in the pecking order, he would be looking to move to a team where he could be guaranteed a starting position.
Verdict: Highly likely, 8/10
Ritchie De Laet
Had an encouraging start to his United career, with first team appearances in the 09-10 season. Sent out on loans to Portsmouth and Leeds, his United future looks bleak, with him having failed to live upto his initial promise. Leeds have shown interest in retaining him permanently subject to a fee being agreed.
Verdict: Highly likely, 8/10; 800 K- 1 Million GBP
The club needs to strengthen their midfield as with Scholes’ retirement, Giggs’ age and Hargreaves being released, the team is short on quality replacements. So, one or possibly two new central midfielders and a winger are expected to arrive at Old Trafford. Stern warnings have to be issued to Anderson and Gibson to improve their play or get ready to pack their bags.
He has been the captain of Standard Liege for 5 years now. Defour is an out and out creative midfielder with good composure and good with ball at either foot. Sir Alex’s admiration for his abilities is well known. No mention of his name recently is worth pondering over.
Verdict: Likely, 7/10; 12-15 Million GBP
The man who makes Tottenham tick, Modric has shown that he can mix it up with the best of them despite his tiny physique. Box to box, keeps possession and controls the game; an ideal replacement for Scholes. He was Sir Alex’s PFA player of the year nominee.
Verdict: Likely, 7/10; 25-30 Million GBP
Despite having an injury hit campaign for Inter; Sneijder remains one of the most coveted attacking midfielders in the game. His ability to bring others into play, added to his dangerous set-piece abilities make him an asset to his team.
Verdict: Possible, 5/10; 35-40 Million GBP
Talk of United’s interest in Nasri is still idle, with the only link to United being Evra telling him to join United. He has fueled speculation by asking to be informed of United’s interest, if any. This could, however, be in hope to leverage an increase in wages at Arsenal. He can play on both wings or through the centre an is highly skillful and two footed.
Verdict: Highly unlikely, 3/10; 15-20 Million GBP
His dribbling and playmaking has made clubs all across the world sit up and take notice. Often compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, he is two-footed and lightning fast, and has been linked to multiple clubs, with Inter apparently leading the chase for his signature.
Verdict: Highly unlikely, 4/10; 44 Million GBP release clause; available for around 35 Million GBP
With his dribbling ability coupled with his pace and the ability to play on either wing, he is one of the most complete wingers around. He is no muck on set pieces either, and is an attractive option for the big clubs. He can also play as the second striker. Liverpool are in the running for his signing, as well.
Verdict: Highly likely, 8/10; 15 Milliion GBP
His appearance at Old Trafford begets only one question – when (and not if) will the club make a move for him? He seems to have been a player of interest for about 2 years now. He possesses electrifying speed, great skill, can play on both wings and has a sweet left foot. His recent exposure in Europe playing for Shakhtar adds to his value. Hopefully Sir Alex will register his interest this summer.
Verdict: Possible, 6/10; 15 Million GBP
Tom had a good loan spell at Watford in 09-10 and was touted to be part of the squad for this season. Impressed on loan at Wigan with his composure, intelligent runs and the knack of finding the goal. Expected to be a big part of the squad this year.
Impressed as part of the reserves last year and should be integrated into the first team squad this year. Disciplinary issues to be overcome, but the club have seen his ability, and are willing to help him through it. He could also be loaned to one of the championship outfits.
Other notable rumors: Lassana Diarra, Jordan Henderson.
His time at United was riddled with injuries, and prevented the best English midfielder from playing much in his home country. His contribution to the 07-08 campaign was invaluable, though. His composure and off the ball positioning will have to be replaced.
Contract not renewed. He has been released.
A huge bargain in the first place, his run in the first team was characterized by wild swipes on goal, and direct running at defenders without looking up. The mistake committed in the last window should be rectified by selling him now, even if it means incurring a loss.
Verdict: Likely, 7/10; 3-4 Million Pounds
A disappointment on the whole, he has not shown much in his two years at United. His strengths include incredible speed and acceleration, with a decent right foot. His game understanding is weak, and lacks the composure to succeed at United.
Verdict: Likely 7/10; 2 Million Pounds
This has been the most satisfactory department in the season gone by. The club made a good signing by extending the contract of Michael Owen for an additional year. With Hernandez and Rooney having formed a formidable partnership, the picture looks rosy for the next few years. Add to that the return of Macheda and Welbeck, and United would have a strike force settled for a few years to come. Berbatov performed brilliantly in the early part of the season, and kept the team in the title reckoning during Rooney’s slump in form and contract issues. However, with him having seen very less playing time over the last two months of the season, United and the player might just part if the right offer comes in.
Despite having played very little while on loan at Sampdoria, Macheda had a decent season. His performances off the bench at United in the first half of the season were encouraging; none more so than his performance against Villa away.
His performances for Sunderland were consistent and good. He failed to hit the net too many times because he was played on the right hand side of a three pronged attack. His performance against Chelsea at the Bridge was brilliant, and showed United fans what they can expect next season.
Verdict: It is highly likely that both, Welbeck and Macheda, will be kept in the first team squad.
A former United player, he has matured into a technically brilliant striker since his move to Villareal. His sweet left foot and playmaking ability make him an even more lucrative buy. United have first option on any bid made for him, and it might just be time to use it.
Verdict: Highly Unlikely, 4/10; 20 million GBP
Serving as a crafty striker for the reserves, he is deadly in front of goal. He has impressed Sir Alex Ferguson, and is a fixture in the U-18 English national team. He is also a probable part of the first team squad, but is likely to be loaned out to a championship outfit.
Mame Biram Diouf
After being sent on loan to Blackburn, he had a decent season for them, scoring a few and setting up a couple of goals for others. However, he is not ‘United’ material. He is a decent finisher, has good speed but is slightly rash in his decision making. Sir Alex Ferguson likes his chances at United and might keep him.
Verdict: Highly Unlikely, 4/10; Probable loan again
His disappointment at not making the CL finals squad, coupled with his lack of action in the last months of the season, could make him want to leave Old Trafford in the transfer window. However, he has stated that he would like to stay and fight for his place. Contract talks still pending, though.
Verdict: May be, 5/10; 15-18 Million GBP
Whoever the team brings in this summer, they will all have a lot to prove in terms of their ability to handle the pressure of playing for United, as they go out of the Old Trafford tunnel playing as the home team week-in week-out, trying to satisfy the appetite of 76,000 supporters and one hungry old man.
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