As Sir Alex continues to improve the squad with some promising transfers – attention is starting to turn towards who will ‘replace’ Paul Scholes next season.
At the forefront of everyone’s mind is the Dutch maestro, Wesley Sneijder, who undoubtedly has the talent and ability to thrive at Old Trafford. However, his wage demands may prove too excessive despite the fact we could probably afford his £40m transfer fee.
Currently earning £10m a year at Inter Milan in Italy (where the highest tax rate is 43%, rather than the 50% in England), Sneijder is one of the best paid players in the world.
Therefore, if we want to get his signature, we are going to have to make him one of our highest earners, with a wage of around £200,000 a week – which works out at £9,600,000 a year.
Considering this, Sir Alex may decide to look elsewhere for a more affordable signing (although our wage bill has been considerably reduced recently). Here, I intend to assess the alternatives (excluding Luka Modric), considering their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Marek Hamsik– 23- £28m
Having been scouted heavily by United 4 years ago when he rose to prominence at Serie B side, Brescia, the Slovakian international may once again be back on United’s radar, after guiding Napoli to an impressive third place finish in Serie A this season.
2. Eden Hazard– 20- £20m
Originally a winger, Ligue 1’s player of the year is seemingly developing into a forward who is capable of playing both out-wide and in the middle.
Exciting to watch, the young Belgian would certainly give us some much needed magic in the middle. Find an excellent article on him, by The Elastico, here.
3. Javier Pastore– 21- £40m
One of Serie A’s finest talents, Palermo’s star man seems to have all the qualities to be a modern-day Kaka.
Tall, strong and elegant, he could well flourish in the Premier League but would Sir Alex be prepared to bring in another expensive Argentinean, after Juan Sebastian Veron’s ill-fated time at Old Trafford?
4. Samir Nasri– 23- £18m
A proven Premier League talent, Nasri would undoubtedly be an excellent addition to our squad. Blessed with great balance, pace and technique, the French international was quite simply one of the standout performers in the Premier League last season.
Currently running into the final 12 months of his contract, his acquisition would certainly be a coup for Sir Alex.
The Next Zizou?
5. Mario Goetze- 19- £20m
Just turned 19, Borussia Dortmund’s diminutive midfielder is already being dubbed the next Ozil. Averaging a goal or assist every other game this season, Goetze’s mesmerizing performances were undoubtedly key to his team’s Bundesliga success.
However, it seems Goetze may be reluctant to leave his home-town club considering the fact they are in the Champions League next year.
6. Shinji Kagawa- 22- £14m
Signed by Borussia Dortmund for only £300,000 last summer, Kagawa was a revelation in the Bundesliga last season, although it was hampered by serious injury.
Scoring 12 goals in 28 games in his debut season, the quick-footed Japanese international certainly has the creative spark United are looking for but I think most fans would be underwhelmed by his addition.
7. Christian Eriksen– 19- £18m
Famously rejected by a number of Premier League clubs before making his move to Ajax’s academy, the Danish wonder-kid showed exactly what he is made of when he totally outshone Jack Wilshere in England’s friendly against Denmark.
After guiding Ajax to their first Eredivisie title in seven years, he was named the Dutch Football Talent of the Year. During the awards ceremony, he was praised by Johan Cruyff, who said…
“He’s a player I really like with all my heart, this prize is just the beginning, a stimulus to get the maximum out of his career… You can compare him with Brian and Michael Laudrup. Only time will tell if Eriksen can reach the same level as them.“
A Danish Ozil?
8. Keisuke Honda- 24- £15m
Most well-known for his set piece ability (like Charlie Adam), Honda is a tall, athletic midfielder who currently plays for Russian side, CSKA Moscow.
Having excelled in the World Cup, in South Africa, he may feel he has gained enough experience in Russia to come and prove himself in the Premier League.
9. Patricio Rodriguez– 21- £8m
A talented and versatile forward for Argentinean side, Independiente, Patricio Rodriquez has been touted as a future star ever since his debut two years ago. Blessed with amazing balance and a ferocious shot, he certainly possesses the skill to succeed in England but his small size and inexperience could make his transition to English football difficult.
However, United are rumoured to be negotiating a deal for him despite the fact there may be issues surrounding his work permit. Find a YouTube compilation of him here.
10. Ashley Young– 25- £15m
Seemingly already on his way to Old Trafford, could Young be the spark in the midfield we’ve been looking for?
Personally, I would love to see Sneijder playing at Old Trafford next season. I think his superb ball striking abilities and, much needed, Champions League experience would really take us to the next level.
However, if a move for Sneijder doesn’t materialize, I am sure Sir Alex will do his research and pick a worthy alternative as there is a plethora of young, talented CAM’s about it!
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