Sir Alex Ferguson has indicated that there has been a change in transfer strategy in the last 12 months at Old Trafford. In the past, he has bemoaned the lack of value in the market. In an apparent about-turn, he now says that his comments were referring to younger players where there was not proof of the quality required for Manchester United. We have all seen the dramatic effect had on the team by the addition of Robin Van Persie last year and it seems that this has not been lost on the Manchester United hierarchy.
Sir Alex has told MUTV, the in-house television station, that he seriously expects to make at least one major signing and another maybe not so large one. Of course, the rumour mill sends out all the usual culprits; Falcao, Bale, Ronaldo etcetera, but there is substance to some of those rumours and I have already written about serious consideration given to the attempts to sign either Bale or Ronaldo.
However, despite the manager`s comments to the contrary, he will still be looking to fill the gap left by Paul Scholes when he retires again at the end of this season. There are two contenders emerging from all the usual fluff surrounding transfers; Claudio Marchisio, the Juventus midfielder who is 27 and Colombia U20 midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero, who is a 20 year old playmaker.
In the case of Marchisio, he is likely to slip down the pecking order at Juventus, with the impending arrival of Ibrahimovich."If they bring in Ibrahimovich, they will have to let someone go," former Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro told Italian football site Sportmediaset. With the manager, Conte, preferring Pogba, Vidal, and Pirlo in midfield, there will not be a place for Marchisio. The only downside to this speculation is the player’s age. Whilst that was deemed not a problem in the case of Van Persie, Sir Alex might not consider Marchisio in the same light as him.
In my opinion, if United are going to make a so-called `marquee signing`, it is likely that they will also add youth to balance the team. That brings us to a player who United have scouted frequently in the last year or so; Juan Fernando Quintero. This player is more like Scholes in stature, being a mere 5 feet seven inches tall, is only 20 years old and took the U-20 World Cup by storm, finishing second highest scorer in the tournament. His country was the eventual winner.
United are keen to add a midfielder to their ranks after missing out on Brazilian Lucas to Paris Saint-Germain and Luka Modric to Real Madrid last summer. I expect that this transfer has more legs than most of the other stories about at the moment and the player fits the mould which Sir Alex will be looking to fill in the midfield. I expect an early move will be made to head off interest from Juventus and Inter Milan.