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Are Manchester United readying for a midfield make-over this summer?
Manchester United are currently cruising to a 20th Premier League title, and you know what? Credit to them. Fergie has labelled this his strongest 'squad' ever, and it'll be difficult to disagree with him when the inevitable happens and Nemanja Vidic lifts the Premier League trophy infront of a belated Old Trafford crowd.
Manchester United's attack received all the plaudits at the beginning of the season, with summer marquee signing Robin van Persie stealing all the fame. The Dutchman arrived from Arsenal for £24million and exploded to stardom as early as his home debut. Being partnered with Wayne Rooney seemed to work wonders for the pair of them, as they have a combined 39 goals in all competitions this season. Javier Hernandez has had an exceptional campaign too, chipping in with 16 goals. The Little Mexican marked his return to the first team with a header against Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final, and remains Fergies number one 'go to' player for when his side are in desperate need of a goal. Finally, Danny Welbeck gets some limelight. The 22 year old may only have two goals this season – but put in arguably two man of the match performances against Real Madrid in this seasons Champions League.
As we approach the business end of the season, the Manchester United defence have finally sorted themselves out and look a formidable unit once again. Jonny Evans spent the majority of the season as the number one defender at Manchester United. The Northern Ireland international has partnered Rio Ferdinand at the back for the past two years at Manchester United, and formed an impressive bond with the 34 year old. Nemanja Vidic made his long awaited return to the first team after injury and has ensured that United have kept four clean sheets in their last four games with him in the side. Whilst Rafael is a contender for 'Player of the season' at United after his impressive campaign. The Brazilian has come on leaps and bounds this year, and has made the right back position his own. Patrice Evra has bounced back from last season's difficulties, and Chris Smalling and Phil Jones continue to show why they are the future centre half partnership for Manchester United.
Now, what about the midfield?
Truth is, apart from the criminally underrated Michael Carrick, the Manchester United midfield has been poor this season. As with every passing year since the departure of Roy Keane - Manchester United fans, my self included, have been crying out for a midfield enforcer to tidy up a rather physically soft midfield.
Looking at the Manchester United midfield you can be sure that Sir Alex Ferguson will have a dilemma this summer. Paul Scholes, 38, will once and for all hang up his boots and retire for the second time. Anderson, 24, has recently been linked with an exit out of Old Trafford. Luis Nani was reportedly offered to Zenit St. Petersburg before the start of the season, but a move failed to materialize. Darren Fletcher will continue his return from an unfortunate bowl condition, whilst Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have had a season to forget in a Manchester United shirt.
With so many potential summer departures – who will Fergie sign to replace the aforementioned?
A deal for Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha was agreed in the summer. But any other deals on the cards Fergie has kept quiet.
Kevin Strootman and Victor Wanyama have been linked with Manchester United since the start of the season, and seem the most likely candidates to enter the Old Trafford 'Welcome' door this summer.
After his Champions League heroics for Real Madrid, Luka Modric's name has been partnered with a move to Manchester United as well. Fergie was out-priced by the stubborn Daniel Levy of a move for the Croat two summers ago – and with the Real Madrid midfielder reportedly 'interested' in a summer move away, this rumour makes sense.
Manchester United were once linked with Porto midfield Joao Moutinho. Rated at £22million, the Portuguese is one of the best passers in Europe, and would be a Champions League quality addition to the Manchester United midfield.
Of course, United do have youngsters capable of filling the void left by the potential summer casualties. Nick Powell, Adnan Januzaj, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jesse Lingard and Davide Petrucci will all be first team players soon.
Manchester United have managed fine with their current midfield this season, sitting on top of the Premier League by 15 points. Reinforcements will be made this summer, the question is who?
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