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Goal.com's transfer special series comes to focus on the Red Devils...

After a season without major silverware, but full of tales of financial woe, Manchester United face an important summer of transfer dealing.

Chairman David Gill has insisted money is available for Sir Alex Ferguson to spend and close the one-point gap to Premier League champions Chelsea. The manager has declared that one or two signings will be made to supplement the pre-arranged arrivals of Mexican striker Javier Hernandez and Fulham centre back Chris Smalling.

United were so close to yet another glory-filled campaign and the extent of their ambition will be shown by the Glazer’s desire to spend. Make at least one big-name signing and the ‘green and gold’ campaign will go quiet, fail to invest and a record breaking 19th league trophy will look further away than ever.

Goalkeepers

Despite signing Edwin van der Sar up to a new one-year deal, reports of a swoop for a new goalkeeper have refused to go away. The Dutchman will turn 40 this year and the need to blood a top drawer replacement is on Ferguson’s mind.

Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon, CSKA Moscow’s Igor Akinfeev, Lyon’s Hugo Lloris, Schalke 04’s Manuel Neuer and Fiorentina’s Sebastian Frey have all been linked. With the prospect of a season in and out of the team to come, the Scot is likely to favour a swoop for either Neuer or Lloris, though they had contrasting fortunes at the World Cup in South Africa.

Ben Foster’s exit to Birmingham City will not be an issue as reserve shotstopper Ben Amos is set for promotion.

Defence

The question marks that surrounded the United defence in winter disappeared as that department provided the bed-rock of another title bid. After a season of speculation, the increasing possibility of Nemanja Vidic staying at Old Trafford has quelled the need for a quality centre back.

Palermo’s Simon Kjaer, Bolton Wanderers’ Gary Cahill and Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic had been lined up, but now only Fulham’s Chris Smalling will add to the ranks upon the completion of the £10 million switch agreed in January. A re-occurrence of Rio Ferdinand’s injury woes ahead of the World Cup could yet convince Ferguson to take the plunge, however.

The perennial story linking Inter Milan’s Maicon with a big money transfer to Old Trafford has re-appeared, but the Brazilian’s age, price-tag and a new contract for Gary Neville make it a no-goer.

Patrice Evra could also get a new understudy if the long-arranged switch for Corinthians starlet Dodo is pushed through.

Midfield

Much of the blame for United’s failure to lift any significant silverware last term has centred on the contribution of the midfield. At times, chances were in short supply as the club failed to match the free-scoring exploits of Chelsea.

Star names from across the globe have been linked to play the magician. Real Madrid’s Rafael van der Vaart, Everton’s Mikel Arteta, CSKA Moscow’s Milos Krasic, Aston Villa’s James Milner, Santos’ Henrique Ganzo and Manchester City's Stephen Ireland have all emerged as targets.

A high spend on youthful stars Ganzo and Milner moves to the forefront if Ferguson continues his policy of investing in stars of the future.

Attack

Wayne Rooney’s emergence from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow saved United’s campaign and pushed the critics' gaze on to the misfiring Dimitar Berbatov. The barbs thrust at the club record signing as he failed to match his strike partner’s goalscoring contribution make a transfer market plunge for a star name likely.

At the top of the list is a fresh move for Real Madrid flop Karim Benzema, while Barcelona’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bojan Krkic, Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko and Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero have all been linked.

Benzema’s cut-price £15m fee and point to prove make him the most likely to join Guadalajara centre forward Javier Hernandez at Old Trafford next term.

IN (4): Chris Smalling (Fulham), Javier Hernandez (Guadalajara), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

OUT (2): Anderson, Michael Carrick

Preferred Line-Up (4-3-3)

Van der Sar

O’Shea Vidic Ferdinand Evra

Hargreaves Fletcher Nani

Valencia Benzema Rooney

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