Forget all the Wesley Sniejder/Luka Modric/Samir Nasri rumours and transfer sagas, they’ve merely distracted from the real problem at the heart of the United side: the lack of a tough midfield enforcer.
Anyone who watched Barcelona run riot against us in the centre of the park for the second time in three seasons will know that buying another ‘creative’ type isn’t gonna fix the dilemma which led to a second successive Champions League final defeat. What United need is someone to “get hold of the ball and give it to a red shirt” as Roy Keane wrote when speaking about the instructions Brian Clough gave him at Nottingham Forest.
So with that in mind who are the players Sir Alex should be looking at? Well here’s five men who I feel could be ideal for breaking down the opposition and adding a bit of steel to United’s silk in central midfield.
1. Lassana Diarra.
Real Madrid’s French international is one of the more underrated players in Spain -not least of all by Jose Mourinho who at times doesn’t seem to rate him all that highly. Diarra knows the Premier League having played for Arsenal, Chelsea and Portsmouth and obviously has European experience. The only problem could be his on/off relationship with Mourinho who could either give him away for nothing, or refuse to sell him altogether, depending on what day you ask the Special One about ‘Lass’ such is the fickle nature of their relationship.
2. Daniel De Rossi.
Yes I know he isn’t a DM as such and has even been touted as a possible successor to Paul Scholes such is his attacking play, but the sheer box to box capabilty of De Rossi means that if Fergie did take a chance then there’s no reason he couldn’t give United the edge we’re lacking in the centre of the park.
At aged 28 he’s coming into his best years although it may still take a large transfer fee to wrestle him from Roma where he’s something of a fan’s favourite having spent his entire career there.
If he were available I’d love to see him at Old Trafford but the likelihood is he may be unobtainable regardless of the money we offered.
3. Scott Parker.
Don’t laugh, just ask yourself the simple question ‘this season could he do a job for United?’ Personally I think he could, after all he’s got Premier League experience, is pretty fearless, can tackle, runs his heart out and would no doubt love the chance to play alongside the likes of Nani and Wayne Rooney, rather than Carlton Cole and Mark Noble.
Parker may be 30 but there’s no reason why he couldn’t do an enforcer type job for United, for at least one season or even two while the likes of Ryan Tunnicliffe and Paul Pogba develop.
4. Mathieu Flamini
Although tempting Milan to part with one of their most influential players last season may be difficult, if there was a price they were willing to sell him for then I’d say go for it. Flamini has Premier League experience from his time at Arsenal, is at the age of 27 nearing his prime and has undoubted talent.
One could argue that Arsenal have never looked the same since he left and if he were in United’s side then I feel he could add that bit of defensive class that’s missing from our midfield men.
5. Owen Hargreaves.
Yes I realised we’ve just released him but hear me out. If Hargreaves goes to West Brom -or anywhere else -on a pay as you play deal and excels then is it such a bad idea to get him back for the remainder of the season?
We know what he can do when fit and if he proved his fitness then he could be the player he was for us in 2008 when incidentally we happened to win the double beating Barcelona en route to the final.
So there you have my suggestions, feel free to comment suggest and abuse below: