Manchester United’s Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

It has to be said… the 2011/12 season for Manchester United fans has been nothing short of a disappointment.

The season that started out with emphatic and wondrous victories against the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers quickly turned into one with shocking and humiliating losses to the likes of Manchester City, Athletic Bilbao and Crystal Palace.

Worse yet, the Premier League title, which a few weeks ago was heading towards the Theatre of Dreams, could be all but lost if United’s ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City win their match Sunday against Queens Park Rangers.

Needless to say, a major overhaul is required at Old Trafford to avoid another unsatisfactory campaign. This includes major deals in the summer to bring in high profile players. But this conjures up numerous questions such as:

  • What are the positions where United have struggled this season?
  • Who are the players that could be easily available in the transfer market?
  • Is it necessary to spend heavily this summer to create a new world-class Manchester United team?

In this article, I’m going to answer all the above mentioned questions and to take a look at the players the club should buy before the 2012/13 season starts: 

1. Midfield

United’s midfield is a big problem that needs to be resolved soon.

Time and again this season, we’ve seen Manchester United’s midfield lacking creativity and incisiveness. The Scholes-Carrick partnership may have made the midfield more structured and organised but the flair and spark is still lacking. In addition, Scholes finds himself on the wrong side of the thirties and a replacement for the 37-year-old needs to be found soon.

Anderson and Cleverley, meanwhile, spend more time on the treatment table rather than on the football pitch. Fletcher is suffering from a chronic illness and it is uncertain if he’ll be back to the Darren Fletcher of old upon his return. Giggs, like Scholes, is not getting any younger and Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United looks uncertain. Park, after his abysmal performance against City, is more or less likely to leave the club at the end of the season.

Thus, Manchester United are left with only one player who could be trusted for the future: Michael Carrick. The Red Devils will need to buy at least two midfielders in the summer to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid on the European fronts.

The first should be an attacking midfielder, who can add the lacking flair and creativity to the team and the second, a deep lying playmaker who can provide the midfield with more stability and strength and protect the back four.

For the attacking midfielder role Nicolas Gaitan looks like the most attainable and suitable avenue. According to several media outlets, the deal to bring in the 24-year-old from Benfica for 20.6 million pounds is nearing completion. As part of the deal, Fabio is to go on a season long loan to the Portuguese side whereas Federico Macheda will be exchanged on a permanent basis. The deal may seem a little escalated in terms of what Manchester United are paying but one has to also consider the fact that the transfer market has become quite inflated these days because of clubs like Manchester City and Real Madrid, who pay absurd amounts to bring in new talents to the club.

Nonetheless, Gaitan’s arrival will add more attacking options to United’s midfield and the Argentine could be the one to add the ‘lacking creativity and flair to the midfield.’

Other players linked with a move to the Red side of Manchester include Luka Modric, Clint Dempsey and Christian Eriksen. However, Modric’s exorbitant price tag, Dempsey’s age and Eriksen’s desire to stay at Ajax, make the three unrealistic and incongruous targets for United.

For the deep lying playmaker role, Javi Martinez is the best possible option. The Spaniard is in the midst of a stellar season with Athletic Bilbao and has been heavily linked with a move to the Red Devils. Martinez’s ability to break up the opposition’s play, balance the midfield and start attacks from the deep could be make him an invaluable asset to Alex Ferguson’s squad. However, Athletic Bilbao are quite reluctant to sell Martinez in the summer; meaning the Red Devils would have to pay the prized midfielder’s mammoth 34-million-pounds buyout clause to lure him away from the Basque club.

2. Left Back

It is almost certain that Manchester United will sign a left back this summer.

Stand-in captain Patrice Evra has been substandard this season. Yes, he may make some interesting forward runs at times, or may combine well with the likes of Nani and Young on the left wing; but his defending has been lacklustre and lifeless. The Frenchman has lost a yard of pace, gives away the ball too easily and at times, commits some untimed and clumsy fouls on the opposition players.
Fabio is set to go off on loan to another European club the next season and Fryers is too inexperienced to become United’s prime choice at the left back position.

Everton’s Leighton Baines is the latest left back to have been linked with a move to the Red Devils. The 27 year old is in the prime of his career and his performances this season have earned him a name in PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year. The England international will provide United’s left flank with more defensive stability and attacking prowess. What adds to this is that he is also an excellent free kick-taker. Furthermore, his five million pounds price tag makes him an ideal candidate to be Patrive Evra’s successor at Old Trafford.

A younger alternative could be Ajax’s 20-year-old wing back Nicolai Boilesen, who has been one of Ajax’s most impressive players this term. However, Boilesen’s arrival could stunt Fryers’ and Fabio’s development as then, in the coming season, the three would have to fight for one position which could consequently result in the latter two leaving Old Trafford to seek more first team opportunities elsewhere.

3. Striker

Alex Ferguson has already announced that Dimitar Berbatov is going to leave the club this summer. Michael Owen is well past his prime and one cannot understand the reason why he’s still at the club. Federico Macheda, barring that winner against Aston Villa in 2009, hasn’t exactly done anything to be worthy of wearing the United jersey. Hence, even though Manchester United have arguably one of the best attacking partnerships in the Premier League, they’ll be lacking the depth required to compete on four fronts in the next campaign.
Hence, they’ll need to add another striker on the roster so that the likes of Welbeck and Hernandez could get sufficient amount of rest and not suffer from fatigue in the later part of the campaign.

Several prolific strikers will be available in the transfer market this summer. One of them is the highly sought after Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The former Los Blancos start is a poacher in-front of the goal and has netted 44 times for Schalke this season in just 46 appearances. There is no reason why Alex Ferguson shouldn’t bid for Huntelaar- The latter is fine in the air, a strong finisher, knows how to keep the ball and link-up with teammates and most importantly, is a cheaper and more experienced option than other Red Devils targets like Fernando Llorente, Iker Munian and Edinson Cavani.

If United are to buy Huntelaar, the 28-year-old’s partnership with Rooney could be even more predominant and formidable than the current Manchester United attacking partnership of Rooney and Welbeck.


The first thing that comes to a Manchester United fan’s mind when he thinks of the summer is the possibility that his club is going to spend heavily in the transfer window and recruit some world-class players.

The summer is without doubt going to be a busy one for the Red Devils and if the above mentioned players join the club, it could again become a force to reckon with in Europe.

26 thoughts on “Manchester United’s Summer 2012 Transfer Targets”

    1. Some valid comments, United need nothing short of a full overhaul. What I fail to understand is why we have persisted for so long in making excuses about ‘value’ in the transfer market. We have failed to attract one single blue ribband signing since Dimitar Berbatov in 2008. That is now over 4 years without one marquee name and in the same time we have sold Cristiano Ronaldo for £80m and also lost Carlos Tevez. Whether we realise it or not, there is an air of inevitability whilst the Glazers are still in charge servicing £52m of debt per annum – we will never seriously compete, with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City. Eden Hazard chose Chelsea, maybe that isnt a bad thing with reported wages around £250k per week, and an exorbitant price tag to match, but more worryingly in addition to not replacing Ronaldo and Tevez we now have Giggs and Scholes who are in their twilight and will only be bit part players, if they play any part this coming season. Ferdinand seems to have lost a yard of pace and is suddenly injury prone, Evra has declined in stature and we will also lose Berbatov, Owen and Macheda. I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies in the capture of Kagawa who looks half decent for the money, but the players we have lost and ARE about to lose, have been close to legends, players at the absolute top of their careers. You cannot have a succession plan for Evra, Ferdinand, Scholes, Giggs, Park, Hargreaves, Berbatov, Ronaldo and Tevez with 3 players for less than £100m?? You could spend £200m in this market and still come up short! We need WORLD class players and with all due respect to some of the players mentioned bar the possibility of Huntelaar I dont see one player on that list who matches the talents of the players mentioned above at their peaks. I am passionate about this as I feel for a number of years now Ferguson has been over reliant on the ‘old guard’ and the elongated careers of Giggs and Scholes, Van Der Saar all model professionals has allowed this. We are in a mess. Looking back at some of the united teams that have won titles and starred for us we have quality running throughout. The great united teams with Cantona, Hughes and Kanchelskis, Keane, Neville, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Schmeichel, Stam, Bruce, Pallister, Cole, Ronaldo, Tevez. Not a lot of mediocrity in that lot!

      1. I would also add when Sir Alex talks about value in the market as an excuse for lack of activity at United’s previous transfer history. Signings that made United what they were Champions. United broke the British Transfer record 5 times previously under SAF. Roy Keane 1993- £3.75m, Andy Cole 1995 – £7m, Ruud Van Nistelrooy 2001 – £19m, Veron £28.2m 2001, Rio Ferdinand £30m – 2002. I would also look towards his alternative policy on youth. Our best coupe in recent times was developing Guiseppe Rossi through the ranks who we later lost to Villareal where he became a top scorer in the Spanish League. More recently we have invested £20m in Anderson some 5 years ago who is still yet to command a regular birth in midfield. Other additions who havent met the grade are Richie De Laet has come and gone at £2.5m, Zoran Tosic (who?) £8m, Bebe £7.5m, Manucho £2m, Rodrigo Possebon £1m, Gabriel Obertan £3.5m, Mama Biram Diouf £3m. So let’s see thats nearly £48m and none are even good enough to command a regular first team place, that’s criminal waste! And so let’s not lose total faith, what of the world famous Manchester United youth system. Well our most outstanding youth prospects in recent years are Tom Cleverley, Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba. Of those three Morrison has already signed for West Ham, Pogba looks set to join Juve next season due to lack of first team opportunities and Cleverley doesn’t seem to be flavour of the month, after an injury blighted a very promising start to the campaign. If you still believe Fergies words are anything more than rhetoric for my hands are tied then hopefully this post may have enlightened a few. The Glazers are bleeding the club dry and the rank and file supporters are growing tired of the lack of ambition being shown by the management.

    1. Maybe if Everton won’t except the great offer of £5m for Baines they could sign Bale for a tad more at maybe £6m LOL.

    1. Because Evra has been the weaker link. Bull charging his way up the left flank, head down, not looking for the pass, then loosing the ball, and subsequently putting his back line a man down with the other team on a break. This happens at least 3 times every game and drives me crazy.

  1. Agree with RBP, i also support everton and 5 mil pounds for bainesy?? hes at least 15-20 pounds. Besides we are not a selling club so the top clubs hands off our best players!

  2. 5 million for Baines is crazy. He’s probably worth around 10 million, but he’s also english so that means that he’ll go for no less than 15-16. We’ve seen it plenty of times where the english players go for at least 25-50% more than what they are really worth. Examples come straight from Liverpool, Downing, Henderson, and Carroll.

    1. btw, just as a public service…..if you hold Alt and type 0163 on your numeric key pad you get the £ symbol. Useful on this site. 😉

  3. Baines would be a good buy but wouldn’t hav a hope of gettin him for 5mil, Javi Martinez would be a brilliant signing… woulda been the new Roy Keane. Its a pity Gotze signed a new contract with Dortmund- he woulda been mint at OT…If Newcastle don’t make champoz league Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cisse etc could all become more available…Would love Cavani too. Kagawa is a good player but he’s being let go to make way for Marco Reus…so not sure would he be Man U material- depends how much he’s gonna cost too

  4. ‘The deal may seem a little escalated in terms of what Manchester United are paying but one has to also consider the fact that the transfer market has become quite inflated these days because of clubs like Manchester City and Real Madrid, who pay absurd amounts to bring in new talents to the club.’

    Of course the £31m Utd paid for Berbatov is not high at all come to think of it what did they pay for Ferdinand 10 years ago £2m? Must have been a snip just like Veron the year before eh?

  5. Haha. £5m for Leighton Baines. Quality journalism that is.

    If you put a 1 in front of that 5, it still wouldn’t be sufficient to make us accept the bid.

  6. i agree with andy all english clubs want too much £££s for average players who would probably love a move to a big club but are most often rejected due to their current clubs own greed, just take look at phil jones never worth what blackburn wanted but cos it was utd they upped the price ash young was the same but villa was the same, but they now the clubs have to buy so many home grown, by the way how does scum city get away with only 6 home grown out of 25 and only micah came from their own academy, same as cheski 7 home grown with 3 from theirs, do the rules not apply to them as it does for the rest

  7. Manu need some midfielder and striker like Lewandowski,Benzema,Doyle,Chamakh and in midfield like Jarvis,Moutinho,Rues to retain the title.

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