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Manchester United: Potential transfer targets

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<b>Maarten Stekelenburg</b><br/>
Edwin van der Sar still looks good for at least another season but at the age of 39, his days are numbered. United already have Tomas Kuszakand Ben Foster in reserve, but neither have done enough to rightfully lay claim to the No 1 jersey when van ser Sar departs. Therefore, Ferguson has been casting an eye over Maarten Stekelenburg, the Holland World Cup keeper. He's had an excellent tournament and at the age of 27 is mature enough to take on the responsibility of being No 1 at Old Trafford. Prising him away from Ajax would take a hefty bid. United are also said to be interested in David De Gea of Atletico Madrid.

<b>Maarten Stekelenburg</b><br/> Edwin van der Sar still looks good for at least another season but at the age of 39, his days are numbered. United already have Tomas Kuszakand Ben Foster in reserve, but neither have done enough to rightfully lay claim to the No 1 jersey when van ser Sar departs. Therefore, Ferguson has been casting an eye over Maarten Stekelenburg, the Holland World Cup keeper. He's had an excellent tournament and at the age of 27 is mature enough to take on the responsibility of being No 1 at Old Trafford. Prising him away from Ajax would take a hefty bid. United are also said to be interested in David De Gea of Atletico Madrid.

&lt;b&gt;Miguel Veloso&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
In the defensive department, United look strong - and the signing of Smalling will only add to that. A decent option might be Sporting Lisbon's Miguel Veloso, who can play at the back or in midfield. Fellow Portugal international and United star Nani has been urging Ferguson to bring the 24-year-old to Old Trafford.

<b>Miguel Veloso</b><br/> In the defensive department, United look strong - and the signing of Smalling will only add to that. A decent option might be Sporting Lisbon's Miguel Veloso, who can play at the back or in midfield. Fellow Portugal international and United star Nani has been urging Ferguson to bring the 24-year-old to Old Trafford.

&lt;b&gt;David Luiz&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Another defender currently plying his trade in Portugal that United are interested in is David Luiz. The Brazilian defender is in big demand, with Manchester City and Real Madrid also said to be in the running. The 23-year-old is valued at £29m by his club Benfica, which is a bit steep. But his ability to play at left back (and provide cover for Patrice Evra) and centre-back would be a boost to United's current squad.

<b>David Luiz</b><br/> Another defender currently plying his trade in Portugal that United are interested in is David Luiz. The Brazilian defender is in big demand, with Manchester City and Real Madrid also said to be in the running. The 23-year-old is valued at £29m by his club Benfica, which is a bit steep. But his ability to play at left back (and provide cover for Patrice Evra) and centre-back would be a boost to United's current squad.

&lt;b&gt;Joe Cole&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Joe Cole is wanted by everyone - but the leading contenders are Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, who can all provide the England play-maker with Champions League football. His wage demands are high (even Chelsea wouldn't pay them), but considering he will arrive free of charge, a few extra quid each week doesn't seem like a bad trade-off to secure the 28-year-old's services.

<b>Joe Cole</b><br/> Joe Cole is wanted by everyone - but the leading contenders are Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, who can all provide the England play-maker with Champions League football. His wage demands are high (even Chelsea wouldn't pay them), but considering he will arrive free of charge, a few extra quid each week doesn't seem like a bad trade-off to secure the 28-year-old's services.

&lt;b&gt;James Milner&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Another young England player on Ferguson's radar is James Milner. The Aston Villa midfielder had a superb season last term and his World Cup with England has failed to diminish his standing. Manchester United are in the hunt, but strong interest from their close rivals Manchester City, with their bottomless transfer kitty, could scupper any deal.

<b>James Milner</b><br/> Another young England player on Ferguson's radar is James Milner. The Aston Villa midfielder had a superb season last term and his World Cup with England has failed to diminish his standing. Manchester United are in the hunt, but strong interest from their close rivals Manchester City, with their bottomless transfer kitty, could scupper any deal.

&lt;b&gt;Lassana Diarra&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
A more likely addition is Lassana Diarra. Manchester United are in need of a defensive midfielder due to Owen Hargreaves' persistent injury problems and Michael Carrick's inability to step it up for the big games. The Real Madrid man would cost in the region of £21m, but it'd be worth it to fill the problem position. And bringing the 25-year-old to the Premier League wouldn't be much of a gamble considering his proven ability during spells with Arsenal and Portsmouth.

<b>Lassana Diarra</b><br/> A more likely addition is Lassana Diarra. Manchester United are in need of a defensive midfielder due to Owen Hargreaves' persistent injury problems and Michael Carrick's inability to step it up for the big games. The Real Madrid man would cost in the region of £21m, but it'd be worth it to fill the problem position. And bringing the 25-year-old to the Premier League wouldn't be much of a gamble considering his proven ability during spells with Arsenal and Portsmouth.

&lt;b&gt;Mesut Ozil&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
An exciting prospect is the German wonder-kid Mesut Oezil. He has been a class apart at the World Cup (although judging players on their performances in tournaments isn't always the best indicator, remember Karl Poborsky?). Yet Ozil looks like the real deal and a move away from Werder Bremen surely beckons. United will face stiff competition from Europe's other top clubs, but when Ferguson sets his mind to it, he rarely fails to get what he wants.

<b>Mesut Ozil</b><br/> An exciting prospect is the German wonder-kid Mesut Oezil. He has been a class apart at the World Cup (although judging players on their performances in tournaments isn't always the best indicator, remember Karl Poborsky?). Yet Ozil looks like the real deal and a move away from Werder Bremen surely beckons. United will face stiff competition from Europe's other top clubs, but when Ferguson sets his mind to it, he rarely fails to get what he wants.

&lt;b&gt;Wesley Sneijder&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Another World Cup star (and obviously one at club level as well) that United are reportedly interested in is Wesley Sneijder. He led Inter Milan to the Champions League title and Holland to the World Cup final - there are few other players as highly thought of right now as the 26-year-old. The player himself has declared his loyalty to Inter, despite his awareness of United's interest. Ferguson will look to capitalise on the current uncertainty at the club following the departure of Jose Mourinho and the arrival of Rafa Benitez. They're apparently ready to table of a bid of £29m.

<b>Wesley Sneijder</b><br/> Another World Cup star (and obviously one at club level as well) that United are reportedly interested in is Wesley Sneijder. He led Inter Milan to the Champions League title and Holland to the World Cup final - there are few other players as highly thought of right now as the 26-year-old. The player himself has declared his loyalty to Inter, despite his awareness of United's interest. Ferguson will look to capitalise on the current uncertainty at the club following the departure of Jose Mourinho and the arrival of Rafa Benitez. They're apparently ready to table of a bid of £29m.

&lt;b&gt;Karim Benzema&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
United look short of options up front. An injury to Rooney tends to bring a crisis to the club as they look around for other options - which frankly aren't there. Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen have performed nowhere near expectations and Federico Macheda is still a couple of years from his best. So Ferguson will look to strengthen, with one option being Karim Benzema. Ferguson tried to sign the French 22-year-old last summer but he opted for Real Madrid instead. Fortunately for United, he hasn't had the best of times at the Bernabeu and might be open to moving on. There are rumours Nemanja Vidic could go the other way in any deal.

<b>Karim Benzema</b><br/> United look short of options up front. An injury to Rooney tends to bring a crisis to the club as they look around for other options - which frankly aren't there. Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen have performed nowhere near expectations and Federico Macheda is still a couple of years from his best. So Ferguson will look to strengthen, with one option being Karim Benzema. Ferguson tried to sign the French 22-year-old last summer but he opted for Real Madrid instead. Fortunately for United, he hasn't had the best of times at the Bernabeu and might be open to moving on. There are rumours Nemanja Vidic could go the other way in any deal.

&lt;b&gt;Luis Fabiano&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
It's crazy that Brazil's first-choice striker is playing at Sevilla. Surely Luis Fabiano should be at a bigger club, and it seems the player is starting to think that as well. The 29-year-old has said himself he would like a move to United, but AC Milan have also been strongly linked with a move. A bid of around £16m could be enough, but no offer has yet been tabled according to the player's agent.

<b>Luis Fabiano</b><br/> It's crazy that Brazil's first-choice striker is playing at Sevilla. Surely Luis Fabiano should be at a bigger club, and it seems the player is starting to think that as well. The 29-year-old has said himself he would like a move to United, but AC Milan have also been strongly linked with a move. A bid of around £16m could be enough, but no offer has yet been tabled according to the player's agent.

<b>Maarten Stekelenburg</b><br/> Edwin van der Sar still looks good for at least another season but at the age of 39, his days are numbered. United already have Tomas Kuszakand Ben Foster in reserve, but neither have done enough to rightfully lay claim to the No 1 jersey when van ser Sar departs. Therefore, Ferguson has been casting an eye over Maarten Stekelenburg, the Holland World Cup keeper. He's had an excellent tournament and at the age of 27 is mature enough to take on the responsibility of being No 1 at Old Trafford. Prising him away from Ajax would take a hefty bid. United are also said to be interested in David De Gea of Atletico Madrid.

Sir Alex Ferguson has already been busy in the transfer market, signing up Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez.

But these youngsters appear to be recruitments for the future and following United's failure to win the major trophies last season, they need players who can make an impact now.

Here, we take a look at the major transfer rumours circulating in the press and on the internet and consider who could be turning out at Old Trafford this coming season.

>> Click on the image to launch our guide.

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Belfast Telegraph