Under the illustrious guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, our unheard pleas of signing a central midfielder were given the coldest possible shoulder. The likes of Wesley Sneijder, Mesut Ozil, Rafael Van Der Vaart and numerous others who were sought after desperately from the terrace voices all slipped through the net in recent years despite and left our supporters feeling agitated and scornful at the failure to address our significant and obvious Achilles heel.
Despite feelings none other than unbridled joy at Ferguson’s unrivalled success, the common belief was that United were severely bereft of strength in depth in the engine room, whilst our rivals were buying the likes of Yaya Toure etc. This supposed scarcity makes retaining the title all that more of an outstanding achievement given that we have ‘got by’ with spare parts.
But it is said when one door closes, another one opens. With a new manager brings a new style, new setup and new personnel as we have seen with the departures of Mike Phelan and Eric Steele and the impending unpopular departure of Rene Meulensteen. This is not only apt from a backroom perspective, but of course the football aspect too.
So could the tides be turning? Could we actually reinforce an area where a bit of extra quality has been missing for a while now?
The microscope has been magnified on our engine room for some time, and as a consequence we have already seen movement in the area with the moving retirement deja vu from Paul Scholes, and surely more movement to follow given there are no guarantees of Darren Fletcher returning to full health and top condition and Anderson on borrowed time. This outward activity will surely prompt David Moyes to delve into the unknown and purchase at least one central midfielder.
Reports emanating from the continent have given hope that our collective yearning for midfield additions will be fulfiled. Previously, we have been linked to PSV’s midfield enforcer Kevin Strootman, who has already captained the Dutch national side. Strootman has been turning heads with his performances in Holland and appears to be a popular choice concerning summer purchases.
However, reports hot off the press will surely whet the appetite.
ESPN’s journalist Miguel Delaney has suggested that we have lodged a bid in the region of £25m for ex-Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. Although the possibility of Fabregas arriving initially seems like a Football Manager esque signing, there is substance to the rumours. Fabregas has been a relative peripheral figure with the Catalan club, his move back home to his boyhood club has not been the utopian paradise he had anticipated.
Albeit an implausible prospect to many, was not the likelihood of us signing another ex-Arsenal captain- a certain prolific Dutch striker a year ago? No-one could actually believe it. As an acclaimed legendary football manager from Govan famously said, “football bloody hell”, stranger things have happened in the footballing world. Although Fabregas has openly stated his affiliation and love for Arsenal, Van Persie did likewise upon seeking pastures new- being sincere in front of the camera is merely a state of defiance and is not akin to interior feelings, if we lodge a bid for Fabregas, he would give it serious consideration as the prerogative is to take care of number one, and Fabregas’ Barcelona career is not beers and skittles currently, he would walk into our midfield.
Fabregas would unquestionably be a marquee signing and somewhat of a coup. We have also been alerted to another Barcelona academy graduate who came through their distinguished La Masia academy base. Weekend rumours emerged that their much-coveted Spanish prospect Thiago Alacantara has a newly significantly reduced buyout clause due to a failure to feature in at least 30 minutes of 60% of Barcelona’s league matches this season. Thiago’s initial release clause was 90 million euros, however this figure is now a miserly 18 million euros.
Alcantara is a player of serious potential, and the fee of 18 million is surely too good an opportunity to spurn. 18 million for a classy and creative midfield is pennies in today’s hyper-inflated transfer trends. His Spanish under 21 compatriot and our very own David De Gea has fuelled speculation of an imminent arrival by welcoming the talk, despite Thiago keeping his cards close to his chest with regards to his next move.
Whoever comes on board will be welcomed with open arms from the Republik of Mancunia as a whole.
The rumours are a nice change of pace, the shoe is on the other foot for a change, with Barcelona admiring Beckham, Rooney, Ronaldo and De Gea in recent years, the suppositions linking us with Fabregas and Thiago has got us fans dreaming of them signing across the dotted line.
Some media outlets are adamant that we will sign at least one of the two, David Moyes will have got off to a good start before a ball has been kicked if he can deliver one of the two Spanish midfield maestros.
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