Man Utd transfer focus – Midfield issues addressed by Ferguson yet still a concern at Old Trafford

As Manchester United bid to reclaim the Premier League crown from neighbours City, the issues that the Old Trafford club have been purported to suffer from have been addressed yet perhaps not completely resolved. Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell have been brought into the club, and the two midfielders are the only additions Sir Alex Ferguson has so far made to his squad.

There is potential to be seen in both signings, but United supporters have long had fears about the centre of their midfield that the acquisitions have not fully allayed. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs will continue to be able to play fewer games, whilst Anderson and Darren Fletcher’s injury troubles have kept both players out for long periods. It appears that potential target Luka Modric is on the verge of joining Real Madrid, so attention could be turned in other directions.

The Daily Mail has reported interest in Porto’s Joao Moutinho, a diminutive 25-year-old who is a versatile midfielder, and can operate in a defensive holding role, a more advanced position, or on the flanks. He was an ever-present in the Portgual side that were knocked out of Euro 2012 on penalties by Spain, missing his kick in the shootout. He did however receive high praise for his performances in contributing to a strong midfield unit that provided Cristiano Ronaldo a platform from which to impress further forward.

A player that would benefit from such a platform, also reported in the media recently, could be Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, who has signalled his desire to leave the Emirates by deciding not to sign a new contract. United are blessed with strength in their forward ranks, with Wayne Rooney invariably joined by one of either Danny Welbeck or Javier Hernandez, two young strikers that have impressed so far in their fledgling Old Trafford careers. However, Ferguson would welcome the goalscoring prowess and all-round play of the Dutchman, who netted 37 times in 48 appearances for the Gunners last season.

The signing of van Persie would be seen as a major coup for United, especially if they beat their cross-town rivals in securing his services. The psychological aspect would be significant in dealing a blow to Roberto Mancini, who has been rumoured to be chasing the 28-year-old for some time. Whilst van Persie may not fit the usual profile of United signings that tend to be of a young age with the potential to mature – such as Kagawa and Powell – the opportunity to land the Arsenal captain could prove too much for Ferguson to resist.

What is certain is that with all of the recent discussion of the Glazer family’s admission that United’s debt could affect the club’s ability to compete in the transfer market, supporters are more acutely aware than ever before that their team must be seen to have the financial clout to overhaul City and wrest back the league title.

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