Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has said that he is playing Wayne Rooney in midfield out of necessity.
The United captain ended his run of nine games without a goal in all competitions by converting a late penalty in Monday’s 3-1 FA Cup victory over Preston North End.
Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao have been the favourite personnel of the Dutch boss up front of late with Rooney start in the centre of midfield, ahead of the likes of Ander Herrera, Maourane Fellaini and Juan Mata.
It would appear Manchester United will go all out for a new central midfielder in the summer to allow Rooney to return to his natural striker role and help United score the goals that his fellow strikers have been unable to. One thing is for certain – United’s listless midfield performances and general ineptitude in midfield dating back to 2005 is not going to be fixed by Rooney playing out of position.
Here are five players the Premier League giants may try to sign to accomplish that.
Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
Paul Pogba looks like an unrealistic transfer this summer but teammate Arturo Vidal appeared to want a move to Old Trafford last summer. The Chilean is on course to win Serie A for the fourth time in as many years – perhaps he’s ambitious enough to want a new challenge? Would be a great fit to United to offer energy in their midfield that would be lost by Rooney returning to the attack, and you can guarantee Man Utd fans and neutrals alike would flock to buy United tickets to watch them play if Vidal signed up this summer. Vidal also has a good long range shot on him and is a goalscorer from midfield.
William Carvalho (Sporting Club of Portugal)
Sporting managed to avoid interest from a number of top clubs last summer for William Carvalho, including Manchester United and Arsenal. One thinks they may be doing a Porto trick and keeping hold of their star for a further year in order to find a replacement in that time. United seemingly have good connections with the Lisbon side having signed Marcos Rojo, Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo from them in recent years. Could Carvalho be the latest Old Trafford-bound player from the Portuguese capital?
İlkay Gündoğan (Borussia Dortmund)
Borussia Dortmund have a big task on them to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League. Failure to do so could see some of their top stars leave over the summer. One of those linked away from the club since last summer is midfielder İlkay Gündoğan. He would add another good passer to United’s midfield, as well a deep-lying playmaker to their team.
Koke (Atlético Madrid)
Was linked to Barcelona last summer, and playing for a top three team in Spain who are also in the latter rounds of the UEFA Champions League. Koke may be tough to lure away from the Vicente Calderón Stadium, but realistically he’s accomplished all he can with his current team. Diego Simeone is also playing him out left – United have the opportunity to play him in a more influential position of centre midfield.
Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain)
Perhaps the most unlikely to possible signings this summer, but Blaise Matuidi should be considered if it’s at all possible to get a bid accepted by Paris Saint-Germain. He’s energetic, makes a lot of tackles in the centre of the park and gets forward too. Not too dissimilar to Wayne Rooney this season, really…