Published 01/01/2011 | 00:00
David De Gea
Another keeper who finds himself constantly linked with a switch to Old Trafford is Atletico Madrid custodian De Gea. Back in November some reports suggested a deal was on the verge of being completed, for a sum in the region of £15m. At just 20-years-old, De Gea would be a risk, but he has already established himself as the Atletico number 1, was pivotal to their Europa League success last term and is widely regarded as the natural successor to Ikar Casillas in goal for Spain.
Rio Ferdinand's return to regular fitness he lessened the need for defensive reinforcements, yet Ferguson is likely to monitor any developments in the market with such an injury prone rearguard. Some reports suggest the United manager is keeping tabs on Real Madrid centre-back Pepe. The 27-year-old Portugal international is currently locked in a contract dispute at the Bernabeu as he looks to increase his wages and United are said to be monitoring the situation. Ironically, the excessive wage demands of the Brazilian born player could also be a stumbling block on any transfer to United.
United have been long-time admirers of German midfielder Schweinsteiger, a position reinforced by his outstanding displays at this summer's tournament in South Africa. His club, Bayern Munich, are reluctant to let him go but with his contract running out at the end of next season, they may be forced to consider any significant bids. If the 26-year-old does become available, United can expect tough competition for his signature. Realistically, any transfer for the 84-times capped battler is likelier in the summer.
Ferguson is a fan of 'finding value' - which basically means buying players when they're young and developing them. One emerging talent to have been linked with a move to Old Trafford is Sunderland's number 10 Henderson. The 20-year-old Englishman was capped for his country in late 2010 and has been instrumental to Sunderland's solid start to the season. Sunderland will be hugely reluctant to sell but with Danny Welbeck currently on loan to the Black Cats, some sort of arrangement could probably be found.
Another Real Madrid player to be linked with a switch to England is the former Arsenal and Portsmouth midfielder Diarra. The France international has slipped down the order at the Bernabeu and eager to play regular football, is ready to move on. So far this season, he's played just two full games - hugely frustrating for a player that cost £20m. With Owen Hargreaves' injury nightmares continuing, any additions to the defensive midfield department would be most welcome.
Manchester United allegedly offered Inter Milan £29m to take Sneijder to Old Trafford during the summer. The Dutch midfielder had just inspired his club to the treble and his country to the World Cup final and Inter were unwilling to listen. Since then he has signed a new contract, but with the recent unrest provoked by the dismissal of Rafa Benitez, United could be back.
If it happened it would be one of the great transfer scalps - but United have been seriously linked with a move for their greatest rivals' star asset. Torres has looked out of sorts since (and at) the World Cup, and is showing little sign of breaking out of his current malaise. It would need to be a huge offer to convince Liverpool to sell the Spaniard, and no doubt Manchester City would get in on the act if he became available. Yet Anfield boss Roy Hodgson admitted in October his fears that Torres could leave for United: "I am not naive to believe there won't be any danger".
With Wayne Rooney still goal shy and Dimitar Berbatov about as predictable as the National Lottery, a striker would be a useful addition to the Old Trafford troops. Before he signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, United were well in the hunt for Benzema's signature. Since his move to the Bernabeu, the Frenchman's form and first team opportunities haven't met expectations and a transfer seems a possibility. The pace and goal scoring record of the 23-year-old would provide the perfect cover and competition for Rooney.
Alex Ferguson is not a fan of the January transfer window - nor is he much of a fan of transfers in general, regularly bemoaning the 'lack of value' in the market place.
Despite this, a club of Manchester United's stature will always find themselves linked with big name targets.
So whether any of these moves will actually take place is debatable, especially considering Ferguson's recent statement suggesting there will be no new arrivals at Old Trafford this January, but here are the chief rumours doing the rounds.