Thomas Vermaelen – 28 Years Old

The Arsenal club captain has found playing time hard to come in the last twelve months, both for club and country he has been ousted out of the starting XI. Inconsistent performances have meant he has lost the trust of those around him, often liable at the back due to a lack of concentration, none more evident than Van Persie’s first game against Arsenal in which he was at fault after a lackluster clearance. Vermaelen is however a defender with considerable ability when at his best, for a relatively small centre back he is very proficient in the air and tends to win a lot of aerial duels as well as posing a dangerous threat in the opposition area during set pieces. He can be seen as a modern day centre back in that his defensive weaknesses are compensated by a natural ability on the ball. Very adept at building play and keeping hold of the ball, Vermaelen’s rise to popularity came on the back of his goalscoring prowess as much as his duties in his own box. Whilst his captaincy of Arsenal has not been smooth sailing, he does provide much needed leadership to a United defence bereft of just that attribute with the summer departures.

Where would he fit in? 

With Van Gaal looking to play with three centre backs, the system may just suit Vermaelen more than his current surroundings afford him. He can be the aggressor of the three, stepping up to intercept the ball and challenge in the air for the first ball. Going forward, his passing ability can help maintain possession, whilst his dribbling ability can open space for those in front of him.

Chances of signing? 

It seems likely that Vermaelen has played his last game for Arsenal but the London side are undoubtedly going to want a rival to pay a premium price, as they would rather he left the club for a side outside the Premier League, with Barcelona being linked to the defender as well. Recent reports suggest United may be ready to pay up to £15million for Vermaelen, a steep price for a player who has not regularly featured but with links to the other defenders cooling off, it may be a necessary purchase to strengthen the defence.

 

Arda Turan – 27 Years Old

The Turkish Magician at Atletico Madrid has been one of La Liga’s reigning champion’s best players over the past three seasons, in which his combination of dribbling ability and endless work rate has been a cornerstone for Diego Simeone’s side. Turan is not the most glamourous winger in world football but he certainly is one of the more effective and complete. His pass completion % of 83 may not jump out at stats lovers but it is important to put that in context of a team that relied on counter-attacking and a relatively direct approach which means a minimisation of the so called ‘meaningless’ sideways and backwards passes. Though he is capable of playing on both flanks, Turan is far more effective playing on the left side.

Where would he fit in?

Due to his relentless effort and tendency to get stuck in, Turan would fit perfectly as a wing back in the Van Gaal system. Turan’s selfless approach whether off the ball or on it, would give the side a healthy balance in both attack and defence. A comparison could be made with Dirk Kuyt’s role in the World Cup under Van Gaal as an indicator of how Turan would be deployed.

Chances of signing?

With Atletico Madrid having already sold key players this transfer window, predominantly to Chelsea it is unlikely the side will be willing to part with another one of their stars. Turan himself has stated that he is happy to remain in Madrid and help the side defend their Spanish crown but should United truly desire the player, it would be unsurprising if the player decided to move to Manchester, although there is no sign that the interest is anything more than a rumour at this stage.

 

Fredy Guarin – 28 Years Old

Scorer of one of the greatest goals in recent time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WwRNyZTwOM a goal which on its own merits would warrant signing a player. Guarin is a mercurial player in that when he is at his best, he can be a major influence on games but this is not a common occurrence throughout a season. Since his arrival to Inter Milan, his role has changed from a dynamic box to box midfielder to a more advance position behind the strikers, in which he has performed well for the club. Rather than a truly creative presence, his approach is built more heavily on his physical presence and drive on the ball getting him into space and freeing up those around him, in a similar fashion to Yaya Toure. Yet, another similarity he shares with the Ivorian is a tendency to forget about his defensive duties and often put in clumsy challenges, a trait that perhaps explains Mazzarri’s decision to move him further upfield.

Where would he fit in? 

It is difficult to imagine Van Gaal eyeing Guarin up as an advanced midfielder to play behind the strikers, rather Guarin would revert to the role he was more accustomed to at Porto as a central midfielder, an area that is still cause for concern with United given Michael Carrick’s injury and a lack of depth. The worry for United fans should however be that twelve months ago, an imposing box to box midfielder who was converted to an advanced midfielder was purchased and the club tried to play him back in a more defensive position to ill effect. I of course am referring to Fellaini and Guarin may well be a mkII of the Moroccan.

Chances of signing?

Inter Milan appear intent on offloading Guarin with Juventus rumoured to be interested if they sell a certain Arturo Vidal. United may well have to settle with the intended replacement rather than the Chilean, a cheaper alternative who would no doubt be willing to sacrifice Europa League football to join Manchester United.




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