Three players that the press have been linking Manchester United with for the next transfer window are Bolton’s Gary Cahill, Porto’s Hulk and Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martinez. According to them, these three players would fit into the Man Utd system and provide a boost to the squad as well as increase squad depth. The fact that reports emerged of a £50 million transfer warchest being handed to Sir Alex Ferguson to improve the squad, as part of the promise that led to Rooney’s contract extension, has increased the number of players linked with the club.
Hulk is a Brazilian striker playing in Portugal for top Portuguese side Porto. It is reported that Ferguson wants his scouts to compile a report on every match that this player features in, and is keeping a close eye on his development. His contract with the club runs out in 2014, and at 24-years old he is considered to be a key player in the plans of Porto for the future, meaning that he would probably not come cheap.
Bolton defender Gary Cahill has also reportedly caught the attention of United’s scouting department, and the fact that he plays in England makes it easier to analyse his development. He has recently earned his first cap for England, on the 3rd September 2010 against Bulgaria. He joined Bolton from Aston Villa in January 2008 and immediately became a fans’ favourite, winning the Best Newcomer award in his first season at the club. The price mentioned to buy this 24-year old player’s services is in the region of £15 million.
Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez, who plays for Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, has also been mentioned as a transfer target for the Red Devils. At 22 years of age, his potential to improve is very large. Until now, Javi Martinez has earned 3 caps for the Spanish national team, and played 20 minutes in the match against Chile in last summer’s final stages of the World Cup. Although very young, he has always been considered a key player for Athletic Bilbao since they signed him in 2006 from Osasuna. In the four seasons between 2006 and 2010, he made 149 appearances and scored 17 goals. He is another midfielder mentioned as a replacement for Paul Scholes and injury-plagued Owen Hargreaves. The fact that Athletic Bilbao are not featuring in a European competition in the 2010/11 season makes him an even stronger candidate to join United this January.