Fresh from getting linked with Atletico Madrid’s Colombian goal machine Radamel Falcao a couple of weeks ago, with rumours even suggesting we have a down payment in place akin to our David de Gea transfer involving the same club, another striker earmarked with a big-money move Robert Lewandowski turned on the style last night against the ‘Special One’s’ Real Madrid.
The Polish striker bagged all 4 goals as Borussia Dortmund completed a Bundesliga double over La Liga in consecutive nights. Having signed Shinji Kagawa from Dortmund a year earlier, could history repeat itself with Sir Alex Ferguson raiding Jurgen Klopp’s team once again? Lewandowski is in a position of strength, similar to Kagawa last year, his contract only has a year left to run, he is young enough at just 24, and is excelling at club level. Ferguson must have sat up from his champagne swilling stupour to admire the feat of the Pole last night, however Lewandowski is reportedly on the verge of securing a transfer to moneybags Bayern Munich, this would represent a bitter blow to Klopp, who is resigned to losing wonderkid Mario Goetze in the same direction. Klopp would be loathed to losing his striking gem to their arch rivals especially after Goetze jumping ship, so would they be more inclined to accepting a bid from abroad?
Do we need Lewandowski? As this season has demonstated, we are heavily stocked with class attacking artillery, with Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney all plundering goals this season. A lot would hinge on the respective future’s of the two latter. Rooney has been deployed in a role in midfield lately, Ferguson’s gaze is probably on the future with this regard. If Rooney’s long-term future is still with United, a permanent switch to midfield could not be ruled out entirely. Yes, he is untried in that position against genuine class, but having shone there against Stoke and Villa, who is to say that there is room for another striker, with a move into midfield for Rooney? Concerning Chicharito, it’s whether we can guarantee him the first-team football he probably deserves. He is not one to rock the boat, he has been happy to play his part this year no matter how miniscule. That said, if one of those two were to be sold, a new striker would have to be an option, then maybe we’d see a gatecrashing bid for Lewandowski, if the Bayern rumblings turn out to be premature.
One area we will surely be looking to invest in would be centre midfield. With the ginger sat-nav set to hang up his boots for good, long-term health concerns surrounding the stricken Darren Fletcher and patience running thin with Anderson, the centre of our engine room will need to be bolstered. As is customary, we get linked with every player under the sun, but as Lewandowski was stealing the show and raking in the plaudits, his team-mate in midfield Ilkay Gundogan was going under the radar but ran Lewandowski a close second for star performer. We have been linked with others including Frank Lampard, Victor Wanyama, Kevin Strootman, Cristian Eriksen, I could go on.. Many consider our midfield to be an area of weakness, which makes winning the title in April that much more sweeter considering we do not possess a Yaya Toure type player or a David Silva/Eden Hazard type. That criticism will surely be addressed over the summer as a matter of priority given the likely departures in that area.
Ou wingers have not been at their rampaging best this campaign, with Ashley Young plagued by injury and lack of form, as has Nani, and Antonio Valencia looking a distinct shadow of his former self, there are rumours we would be keen on strengthening this area. The arrival of Wilfried Zaha surely means that Nani will be shortly packing his bags to pastures new. So with Zaha and Valencia competing for that right flank, left wing could be an area to look into: with many still holding reservations over Ashley Young regarding class and injury, we have been linked with a whole host of names in this position. James Rodriguez of Porto has been muted as the next big thing at just 21 years old, but if Spurs choke and miss out on Champions League, it is hard to look past the lure of the potential arrival of Gareth Bale. Daniel Levy would drive his hardest bargain with us, but it would be worth a go. Of course, rumours of a romantic return for Cristiano Ronaldo will not cease to go away until he makes his intentions clear, but surely that is the impossible dream?
Our defence looks secure for the long-term, despite recent links with Leighton Baines we have two promising full-backs emerging in Fabio and Alexander Buttner. Rafael has made the right-back slot his own, and with Rio set to commit to us for another year, we are sufficiently stocked there with Vidic, Evans, Smalling and Jones all playing their part this season.
Rumours linking us with Stoke’s Asmir Begovic have been quashed by the stunning form of David De Gea. Apparently we are open to offers for back-up keeper Anders Lindegaard, whether the manager sees Ben Amos and Sam Johnstone to be regular No.2’s remains to be seen, but it is unlikely the keeping department needs to be strengthened.
Where do we need to sign realistically, and who would you like to see next season?
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