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As United head home from their pre-season tour of Australia and Asia, manager David Moyes faces increasing pressure from the media and fans with regards to new signings.

Having seen Ed Woodward fly home for “urgent transfer business” United fans were expecting a big name to be coming through the door yet nothing has materialised.

If one thing is clear from the pre-season tour it is that Manchester United really do lack a central midfield player who can put his foot on the ball, put in some hard tackles and provide cover for our potent front line.

Going forward United look strong especially with the emerging talents of Adnan Januzaj and Jesse Lingard and paired with the exciting prospect of Wilfried Zaha we have three young players who look destined for stardom. Shinji Kagawa also appears to be re-discovering the form which saw him win back to back Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund prior to his switch to United and Van Persie, Welbeck, Hernandez and Rooney (should he stay) will continue to cause problems to any defence.

Phil Jones has been tried at central midfield

Phil Jones has been tried at central midfield

With such a strong attacking force it is imperative that United have a central midfield player who has discipline and is able to slow the game down when needed.

Michael Carrick has been sitting in this role in recent seasons however he is far better suited to being the playmaker in the middle, spraying those long precise passes left, right and centre like we know he can and not having to worry about drifting out of position.

Sadly Darren Fletcher’s woes continue as his condition doesn’t appear to be getting any better with his come back delayed meaning he will now miss the beginning of the season.

Sir Alex tried various combinations in the middle having experimented with Owen Hargreaves, Phil Jones, Anderson and Tom Cleverley to no avail. Hargreaves was the perfect match for the role and had it not been for his chronic knee problems would undoubtedly still be in the position now. So where do United go from here?

Having had missed out on Thiago Alcantara along with two failed bids for Cesc Fabregas, Manchester United are beginning to appear desperate in the transfer market following the failed attempts for the Barca pair. But are they necessarily the right type of players for this United at the moment? Fabregas would be an excellent signing for United no doubt and one that the fans would warm too immediately but he wouldn’t be the holding midfielder we need. If the Fabregas deal was to go through, United would still need to make another signing in midfield too fulfil the defensive side of things.

With rivals City and Chelsea having made big name signings, United fans feel the need more than ever to bring in our own big name/big money signing which is why so much hype was made over Thiago and so much noise is being made over Fabregas however Ed Woodward appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth. There are several candidates at the moment who would appear more than capable of fitting into this role however very little is materialising.

Marouane Fellaini fits the bill

Marouane Fellaini fits the bill

Probably the most obvious choice for the role would be Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, someone who David Moyes has worked with for a considerable amount of time and as far as we are aware has a minimum fee release clause of around £24m.

The big Belgian has also stated that he feels his best position and preferred position is the deeper lying midfield role where he could control the play.

We all know Fellaini is a physical presence and is not shy when it comes to hard tackling and bullying opposition players in the middle of the park, something which Manchester United have lacked ever since the departure of Roy Keane.

He also has goals in his locker having scored 11 goals last season and 25 in total during his time with Everton and standing at 6’4″ provides an imposing figure on set pieces. Of his 25 goals for Everton, 9 of these have come from headers as United will be aware from the opening day of last season when he nodded in  from a Gibson corner.

In my opinion United don’t convert enough from corners and someone of Fellaini’s aerial ability would really add extra threat too our set piece routines. At £24m some may say this is a bit of a gamble however one I feel United should make in order to stabilise the midfield, free up Michael Carrick and provide Shinji Kagawa with the protection he needs.

Completed more passes than Fellaini in 2012-13

Better pass rate than Fellaini in 2012-13

Another player United have been linked with over the last few days is Juventus and Italy man Claudio Marchisio who plies his trade in the middle of the park as a hard tackling versatile midfield player.

He is held in high regard by Juventus and is often compared to club legend and current Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli.

Like Fellaini, Marchisio’s strengths lie in central midfield with his defensive capabilities being his main attribute however is also praised for his range of passing and ability to hold up the ball, which as mentioned above is something United are really missing.

Marchisio boasted a pass success rate of 83% last season compared to Fellaini’s 79% success rate, and also gave Arturo Vidal more freedom to get forward with huge rewards for the team. At 5’10” he lacks the aerial dominance that Fellaini would bring to the United midfield, however makes up for this with his Champions League experience, something which Fellaini has very little of. It was reported this week that David Moyes has been in contact with Juventus to sound out his availability and rumours of a potential £26m offer may be enough to tempt the Old Lady into letting their man go. Marchisio himself has admitted that interest from United is “flattering” which suggests he may be open to the move, yet it will all come down to whether United offer the right amount and we don’t have another situation similar to the Fabregas bidding which in all honesty has been a shambles.

Outside of the above players things are fairly quiet although several sources have suggested Paris St Germain midfielder Marco Verratti may be a target with the player reportedly unsettled at the French Champions having had a transfer request turned down, however nothing more has materialised. Daniele De Rossi is a name which has also been loosely linked with United after Chelsea’s interest appears to have died down, although the has given hints that he may be set to remain in Rome and “improve on last seasons 6th placed finish.”

If United sign no one else this summer a central midfield player simply is a must and David Moyes and Ed Woodward will need to start working overtime in order to have a player through the door and ready for the new season. Watch this space!

Post written by Dave Garghan
Blog: Gargs Football Chat, Twitter: @DaveGarghan9

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