New manager, new era. This is the mantra being used at Manchester United following the retirement of manager extraordinaire Sir Alex Ferguson.
The pressure and expectation on new boss David Moyes' shoulders is huge, the fans will he expecting him to win trophies in his first season although the fact that Moyes has been given a six-year deal at the club shows that the Manchester United hierarchy may be expecting a slower return to winning ways.
Either way, Moyes will need to make improvements to his tittle winning squad and although a complete overhaul would be unnecessary, it is vital he brings in one or two new faces to freshen things up and give the rest of the team impetus to perform.
So which players could really make the difference for United this season? Let's take a look.
Thiago Alcantara - Barcelona - £17-20 Million
Thiago is a CM/CAM player in the mold of Andres Iniesta, he has superb close ball control and excellent vision, which is why it is hard to understand why Barcelona aren't tying this youngster down with a long term contract and a lofty buy-out clause. He has the potential and the ability to become one of the best in the world, his performance during the European U21 final is evidence of this.
One of his many strengths is his ability to keep control of the ball in almost any situation, his first touch is brilliant and as soon as he receives the ball he looks to move it on or into space. Thiago's vision is second to none, playing on a pitch with Xavi and Iniesta would make most players look ordinary but the youngsters eye for a killer pass is just as good as his Barcelona peers. He also possesses the ability to shoot from range with power and accuracy. With a skill set like this it is easy to see why Manchester United are desperate for his signature.
Like all young players though, Thiago still has areas of his game that he can improve. He needs to work on his ability to defend when needed and his tackling skills will need some work if he is to move to the Premier League. One other thing is his close range finishing, he can get into the positions but is sometimes let down by either shooting wide or not picking the right spot to shoot. These things though, with coaching and training can be sorted fairly easily.
Kevin Strootman - PSV - £15-17 Million
It’s been said many a time, but since the departure of Roy Keane United haven’t had that aggressive edge that he provided in the middle of the park. Strootman is a player who could replicate the Old Trafford legends presence on the pitch.
Currently plying his trade in the Eredivise, Kevin Strootman is arguably the perfect fit for a defensive role at United. He’s a tough tackling box-to-box midfielder who gets himself about the pitch, breaking up opposition attacks then distributing the ball to his team mates with speed and accuracy.
The Dutchman’s physique and strength would also be a huge asset to Manchester United, considering the Premier League is one of the most physically demanding leagues in the world.
Strootman is also becoming a regular in the Dutch international team, which can only help the youngster’s progress as he looks to develop into one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe.