Manchester United’s defensive problems have been well documented over the last two seasons and Sir Alex will be looking to this winter transfer window to bring in replacements. Two season back the partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand was considered to be one of the best center back combinations in Europe if not the best. The 2010-2011 season was probably the best the duo had at the back helping United win the Premier League and reaching the finals of the Champions League.
But Injuries to Vidic and Ferdinand since then as put a hole in United’s otherwise air tight defense. Vidic missed parts of last season and has missed most the current with a niggling knee injury and Ferdinand without his partner has struggled to cope. The use of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling alongside Ferdinand hasn’t really brought about the same effect as the Vidic-Ferdinand one.
Man-Utd missed out on silverware last season and Sir Alex will be keen to make-up for this now. The Red Devils have a healthy six point lead over rivals City going into Christmas and will face Spanish Giants Real Madrid in the round of 16 in the Champions League. Reports have been flying around for the last few days that Sir Alex considers Argentinian defender Ezequiel Garay who currently plies his trade in the Portuguese League with Benfica as an ideal candidate to slot in at the back. Norwegian international centre back Vegard Forren is also in the fray but it is expected that a sum of £15million will lure the South American to Old Trafford. Garay who has won 11 international caps with his national team is also being scouted by Italian Giants Juventus.
Elsewhere, Merseyside rivals Liverpool’s Brendon Rogers has been quite busy before the opening of the winter transfer window. Rogers has set his sights on keeper Jack Butland, forward Daniel Sturridge and also on Thomas Ince whose name was in Liverpool’s pay books just a year and half back.
Daniel Sturridge has long been in consideration by the folks at Anfield and has struggled to find himself in the starting eleven at Chelsea. The arrivals of Hazard, Moses and Marin in the summer and Torres’ latest form coupled with Chelsea’s interest in Falco will limit the young attackers first team chances even more. A deal of around £12million is expected to bring the Chelsea man to Liverpool but recent reports suggested that this deal could fall out owing to issues with agent fee and Rodger’s latest interest in PSG’s Kevin Gameiro.
Birmingham custodian Jack Butand is also being scouted by Liverpool putting Pepe Reina’s future in doubt at the Mersyside club. The Spanish keeper has endured a difficult season so far with injuries and the young English keeper is expected to fill in his shoes. The 19 year old played out an impressive debut season for Birmingham and was supposedly considered by Liverpool last summer. The young keeper also has an international cap to his name, making his England debut against Italy in a 2-1 win for his side. Butland is also courted by the likes of Manchester City, Southampton and Everton but is believed to be in advanced talks with Liverpool. Butland’s arrival might out an end to Reina’s tenure at Anfield with the young keeper expected to be part of Liverpool’s rebuilding process.
Young Thomas Ince was shown the door by Liverpool back in August of 2011 and he moved to join the men in orange at Blackpool. A left winger by trade, Ince has been in terrific form for the Seasiders and has already notched up 13 goals in 22 appearances this season. Liverpool boss is known to favour pacy wingers with good dribbling skills and Ince could be a good addition to the squad. Ince will of course face stiff competition from Stewart Downing and Assaidi for the left wing role but his pace and his knack of ‘being at the right place’ could add value to the current squad. An initial bid by Liverpool was turned down by Blackpool managerMichael Appleton and it is widely expected that Liverpool will come out with an improved bid to get the young winger back.