Manchester United fans have been crying out for a midfield replacement for Roy Keane since the Irishman left United on bad terms in 2005. However, I'm afraid Sir Alex Ferguson won't be signing a direct replacement for Roy Keane any time soon.
Roy Keane was a formidable presence in the spine of Manchester United. His leadership, tenacity and aggression were crucial throughout Man Utd's dominance in the late 90's, early 00's. The Manchester United midfield hasn't looked the same since the Irishman left, and this is due to the new playing style Sir Alex has influenced in to his team.
Manchester United have been linked with the likes of Victor Wanyama and Kevin Strootman, but you can almost be sure Sir Alex will go after someone like Luka Modric. A player of that calibre is needed at The Theatre Of Dreams, not a hard-hitting midfielder. Fergie, who admits even he is still learning the game at 71, realizes in this day and age that possession will win you the game, not clattering your opponent on the halfway line in a desperate attempt to regain the ball. Luka Modric was a dominant character in the Premier League, and if played as the focal point of a side, can dictate a game against any opponent. He's failed to hit similar heights at Real Madrid, and he'd jump at the chance to return to the Premier League and Manchester United.
In fact, the key to possession these days is the true reasoning Manchester United have failed to bring in a like for like replacement for Roy Keane. Michael Carrick was signed for £18million after the departure of the former captain, and ever since the former Totteham and West Ham midfielder signed, there have been grumbles and moans over United's midfield play, but why?
As of 01/01/13, Manchester United boast around 60% of the possession per Barclays Premier League game [see eplindex.com]. With possession being nine-tenths of the footballing law these days, the all action, robust midfielder's such as Roy Keane are disappearing from the game. That, and the austerity of tackling in the Premier League, let alone foreign leagues.
The fact is, this season Michael Carrick has played in 20 league games for Manchester United, and The Red Devils have tallied an overall of just under 60% possession so far. This style of play suits Manchester United, they're 7 points clear at the top of the League, in the FA Cup and the latter stages of Europe.
Manchester United brought back Paul Scholes after failing to sign an ideal replacement, whilst Wayne Rooney playing in his deeper role has seen him drop in to the midfield area. The Evertonian shows the same drive, passion and charisma as Roy Keane used to, and people are crying out for him to make the full transition to central midfield to add some bite, but Ferguson knows Wayne Rooney is too good for that.
Wayne Rooney needs to stay in the final, attacking third for Manchester United, because that's what United do. Michael Carrick & Tom Cleverley, United's main midfield duo retain possession enough. The Premier League is without a doubt; the quickest and most aggressive league in the world, and to average out 60% of possession half way through the season is an incredible feat.
Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to adopt the Barcelona philosophy, which saw his side lose two Champions League finals against. The Catalans boasted 68% of the possession in the 2011 final, creating 16 shots to Man Utd's 3. Barcelona have set the bar for 'possession domination' over the past four years, and this is something Ferguson is looking to, and will continue to look to do, with his Manchester United side.
Signing Luka Modric will be a massive step up in class for the Manchester United midfield, and although I personally would love to see a replacement for Roy Keane, it won't happen any time soon.