With Wilfried Zaha joining the club in the summer, Ezequiel Garay seemingly on his way and Cristiano Ronaldo continuingly being linked with a return 'home', its time to assess Manchester United's transfer targets this summer. The rumours I've put together are from various sources around the web and in the newspapers who I've quoted down below.
Despite many of the 'experts' claiming that Manchester United's debt will harm their activity this transfer window, you only need to look back to last year where Fergie splashed out £34million [potentially adding up to £39million] on Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa. £15million of whatever Fergie's budget has been spent on Wilfried Zaha. But you can be sure if the Scot is keen for reinforcements, he'll get them.
Kevin Strootman – PSV - £15million
Kevin Strootman is a box to box midfielder who possesses all the qualities needed to succeed in the Premier League. The Dutchman is physical, provides excellent defensive cover and is not afraid to stick a tackle in – remind you of anyone Manchester United fans?
Here's an extract from Goal.com regarding Kevin Strootman and his future -
“Every transfer window there are clubs that are interested, but [a move] should appeal to me,” he told reporters.
"Sometimes I look at matches in the Champions League and I think 'so, that's a tough level'. Sometimes I am less impressed.”
A move to Manchester United would 'appeal' to the majority of world footballers, and if Fergie is willing to splash out on the Dutch enforcer – expect a move to materialize this summer.
Robert Lewandowski – Borussia Dortmund - £22million
Robert Lewandowski is a well known target for Manchester United, but whether a move will materialize or not is still unknown. Manchester United have Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Chicharito and Danny Welbeck all fighting for the forward positions.
The Polish international has been in terrific form for Borussia Dortmund this term, and has been a key reason for the Bundesliga club's recent rise to prominence. Lewandowski's exit from Dortmund is widely expected due to his expiring contract.
Lewandowski's agent, Cezary Kucharski told The Sun; “Many clubs are interested in the player, in particular Manchester United.
Bayern Munich? I know something, but no further details.”
If Lewandowski is bought in this summer – expect Wayne Rooney to drop permanently into centre midfield.
Ezequial Garay - Benfica - £17million
The Daily Express said that Manchester United had agreed a deal with Benfica centre-back Ezequiel Garay in March for £17million. Neither club have commented on the supposed deal, leaving fans on edge waiting to find out if it has in fact gone through, or is hyped-up 'paper talk' during a slow international week.
The reason this move seems likely is Garay's agent. Mr Jorge Mendes.
Mendes is one of Europe's top footballing agents, representing Jose Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Radamel Falcao. With all three potentially on the move or re-negotiating contracts this summer, it'll be a busy time for Jorge. Mendes could be about to get even richer by clinching Garay a big move - he certainly has history with Manchester United.
Mendes helped Cristiano Ronaldo move to - and away from - United, and also has his fellow compatriot Nani and Brazilian midfielder Anderson on his books.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid - £70million
Cristiano Ronaldo became the world's greatest player at Old Trafford – winning the Ballon d'Or in 2008. The Portuguese left for Real Madrid in 2009 and hasn't looked back since. In fact, hes improved. A lot.
Cristiano Ronaldo has 191 goals in 189 appearances for Los Blancos, an incredible feat. Ronaldo cost the Spanish side £80million – a record sum that remains the largest fee ever paid for a footballer.
However, with reports emerging that Ronaldo was 'sad' earlier on in the season, and with his contract just two years away from expiring, it is unlikely Madrid will recoup what they paid for him.
Ronaldo remains coy on his future – but according to the Daily Mail [I know] he has told friends and former team-mates he would love to move back.
Victor Wanyama – Celtic - £15million
Victor Wanyama played a massive part in Celtic's Champions League campaign this season, which has seen his name been linked with all of Europe's top teams. Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are all reportedly in the hunt.
The burly Kenyan is a powerful midfield enforcer with astute footballing ability. However, his African heritage will pose a major obstacle with any move to Old Trafford.
Sky Sports reported that because Wanyama is Kenyan, his work permit would need to go to appeal as his country are ranked outside the world's top 70, which is a criteria set in the UK.
Kenya's uncertain future in the AFCON tournament will shadow doubts over Wanyama's move to Old Trafford – with Sir Alex Ferguson not a fan of the tournament.
Mario Gotze – Borussia Dortmund - £40million
Manchester United and Borussia Dortmind have been mentioned together numerous times throughout the season, unfortunately for the German side. United bought Shinji Kagawa last summer, and have been linked with Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze this season.
The 20-year-old goalscoring midfielder has produced superb form since he broke through into the first team at the Bundesliga club, and quickly caught the attention of sides all over Europe. His passing ability, pace, acceleration, dribbling and even goalscoring talent have made him one of the most sought-after young stars.
"I exclude nothing, I keep my options open”, Gotze told Sport1, not ruling out a possible transfer elsewhere in the future.
"Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United are fantastic clubs, that would be magnificent."
A move however seems unlikey on both parts. Dortmund will be keen to hold on to their starlet, whilst Manchester United simply do not have the funds to shell out £40million on one player.
Jeffrey Schlupp – Leicester City - £1million
Goal.com and the Daily Telegraph have both reported that Manchester United are lining up a move for Leicester City star Jeffrey Schlupp.
Schlupp, 20, was on trial at Manchester United for over a month, and featured in two under-21 games against Liverpool and West Ham.
The Ghana international is mainly known as a striker, but has also played as a left-back for the Foxes this season.
"We'll be discussing this week what the next step is," boss Nigel Pearson said in February.
"As soon as we find that out we will let you know. He has done well."
How a player can play striker and left back is beyond me, but Schlupp could well be on his way to Old Trafford this summer. Sir Alex Ferguson is a big fan of youngsters full of potential, and the Leicester City man would come at far more modest fee than other top names around Europe.
Manchester United have already wrapped up Wilfried Zaha, but any other deals Fergie has kept close to himself. I expect Manchester United to bring in Strootman, Zaha and Garay this summer – whilst cutting their loses on Anderson, Nani and Lindegaard.