Thiago Alcântara has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United with the Premier League champions making no secret of their interest. Thiago was particularly impressive on duty with the Spanish Under-21 side during their European Under-21 championship campaign in Israel, illustrating his attacking credentials with a hat-trick in the final against Italy. The Catalan side are keen to hold onto their future star, who first entered the limelight after some impressive performances for Barcelona in the 2010/11 season. He has regularly featured in the first-team since making his debut, but his career has stagnated of late. Injuries and a long period out of the starting line-up have played their part in fuelling rumours of his potential departure. However, David Moyes will face stiff competition for the playmaker’s signature from Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
The 25-year-old has just completed an impeccable season under former Everton manager Moyes and the Scot will have to fend off interest from Arsenal to land the midfield maestro. The reported £23m contract release clause in the Belgium international’s contract could represent good value for money given his inherent ability to play further up the pitch or just in front of the back four. Fellaini is a key part of a golden era for Belgium football as an influx of talent from the nation has made it onto the Premier League scene. United hold the advantage over Arsenal given Moyes’ positive relationship with his former player, having brought him to England from Belgium side Standard Liege in 2007.
One of the most intriguing transfer rumours this summer has been United’s link with classy Juventus star Claudio Marchisio. It is easy to see why many have pegged the Italy international as a potential Red Devils target. The 27-year-old is a true professional both on-and-off the pitch and he would provide an extra edge to United’s midfield – arguably he would be the best option to replace the retired Paul Scholes. Not only does he possess excellent tackling ability, but the Juve star has a superb creative eye. Marchisio would seem the perfect fit for United and would easily book a place in the starting line-up. However, the talismanic midfielder is valued at close to the £30m mark and this could lead to Moyes exploring different options.
Benfica make a habit of producing exquisite midfield talent and another has been added to the long list in the name of Nemanja Matić. The Serbian midfielder has become an integral part of the Portuguese side’s squad since joining in the summer of 2011 from Chelsea as part of the deal which saw David Luiz in the opposite direction. United could certainly use a much more defensive presence in the centre of midfield and Matić would be a good fit. The Premier League Champions will be very aware of Matic’s defensive capabilities from when the two clubs met in the group stages of the 2011/12 Champions League. Benfica will hope to hold onto their prize asset but admitted recently it will be incredibly difficult with the interest intensifying significantly.
Despite reiterating his desire to remain in the Spanish capital this summer with Real Madrid, it remains to be seen as to whether new manager Carlo Ancelotti will keep hold of the former Spurs midfielder. Previously linked with the creative midfielder last year, Luka Modrić represents a clever buy for United should they decide to make an approach. The Croatia international had a gallant career with Spurs during his four-years spent at White Hart Lane but has struggled to find his form in Spain. Modrić was even branded the worst signing of the summer by Spanish paper Marca but was able to show some of the form that enticed Madrid to pay £30m for his services.
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