Date:8th June 2011 at 1:27am
Written by:

Ashley Young

Is the Villa winger one of a few players on their way to Old Trafford?

It’s that time of year… Players are spotted coming out of a Greggs in the Manchester city centre and so journalists pen their imminent move to United.

This results in, potentially, about five new starting elevens being signed every transfer window.

However with a slight transition period at Old Trafford it’s actually seeming likely this time maybe there is substance to the odd rumour.

Firstly it is almost definite a new goalkeeper will arrive at United this summer and it seems almost pointless speculating over the name. It appears Atletico Madrid’s stopper David De Gea will be packing his bags for Manchester once he has completed his international duty with Spain in the European Under-21 Championship. The deal looked almost done but has been delayed presumably due to De Gea wanting to focus on the tournament in hand.

Ashley Young pops up in the speculation every transfer window and has done for seasons now. This time though it looks likely the England international will leave Aston Villa, who despite looking likely to break in to the Champions League at one point have very much regressed  in the past couple of seasons. This time around United have been one of the clubs strongly linked to the winger along with rivals Liverpool. When the rumours first started to circulate I thought Liverpool would be the preference with a higher probability of first team football. However Young has expressed his wish to compete at the highest level and particularly the Champions League. Will United respond to Young’s hint dropping?

One thing which is strange about the Ashley Young rumour is that United already have Nani, Valencia and Park all already competing for the wide midfield roles in the first team, not to forget Obertan and Bebe also play this role. This and the fact in the past SAF has not usually had more players than needed in one position, often relying on the reserves or changing a player’s position rather than having mass back-up, made me think rumours of Young moving to United will fade away. Instead, as the days go on, the rumours seem to be stronger and the move more likely. Therefore I cannot help wonder whether this is  paving the way for a departure.

Nani has been linked with a move away. Despite being voted the Player’s Player Of The Year at the club he did not start in the Champions League final which was not surprising. Valencia when available appears to be SAF’s first choice for the right flank with Park and Nani sharing the left. Whilst Nani still gets regular first team football in this system he may decide he fancies a guaranteed starting place and a bit more sun than Manchester offers. After an impressive season it may also be an opportune time for United to cash in.

Park Ji-Sung’s contract is coming to an end in a year and he does not seem to have been offered a new one, he will be 31 when it ends. However it is unlikely Young will be targeted now to replace Park in a year, and it is also possible Park will be offered the one year rolling contract which seems popular among the older players at United.

One player who I do not expect to see in a United shirt in the new season is Samir Nasri. The Arsenal attacker has not signed a new contract with the Gunners with his ending in a year. Somewhere down the line this has resulted in the Frenchman being linked to a move to United, fuelled by untidy journalism which has seen old statements by Rio Ferdinand praising the player. Ferdinand has confirmed via his Twitter page that they are old statements which he made before any speculation arose. If Nasri’s contract was to run out next season then an Old Trafford move may well be likely and to sign him on a free would be a great bit of business. However new deal or not I can’t see Arsenal allowing him to move to Premier League title rivals United this season and will probably allow his contract to run down first.

Charlie Adam’s name is being bouncing around the Premier League more than Ian Holloway would care to imagine. Of course Manchester United have been linked. Adam, very much a big, trophy fish in a small, tangerine pond last season, would have a lot to prove to join a club like United. However that said, with Scholes’ retirement, Adam could slot into the midfield nicely at United. He would presumably only be a squad player, but a useful one at that with the ability to pick out an attacking move with his vision for a good pass. He could just be the compensation for the world class passing ability the team will be missing from Scholes.

The name most linked to United is, if you haven’t heard this story then come out of your cave, Wesley Sneijder. Whilst this at one point seemed to be a deal United would do anything to secure, proceedings seemed to have gone hazy at late. Everything has been said about this move; United want him, Sneijder wants to leave, Sneijder doesn’t want to leave, Inter won’t let him leave, City want to hijack any move United make for him, and now even Guus Hiddink wants him if he goes to Chelsea. It seems to be too difficult to call whether the Dutch midfield maestro will leave and if so where to, however it does seem certain United have a patch or two they want to cover in the midfield.

Luka Modric of Tottenham has also been linked after impressing since his move to London from Dinamo Zagreb. I imagine any move for him would be under the condition of either/or with Sneijder Sniejder being the probable first choice of the two.

The rumours of moves for Sneijder and Modric suggests United are in the market for a midfield playmaker. This takes us to Germany and Borussia Dortmund where Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa is reported to have shown an interest in talking to United if they were to make an offer. However it is more likely that United will have scouts monitor the player further and contemplate a move for him in the future.

Ferguson is also likely to miss out on a couple of his rumoured targets. Youngsters Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both been linked to moves to bigger clubs this summer. Moves for the two are unlikely as Ferguson prioritises building his squad for next year and filling spaces in the midfield with players more guaranteed to come in and perform instantly.

With three or four new players promised to United fans let’s hope some of the exciting names mentioned do have substance to them, rather than having to disappointedly greet the next Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson at Old Trafford.

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