After missing out on the signing of Thiago to Bayern Munich, Manchester United are back in the transfer market for a midfielder this summer.
Despite winning the Premier League title last season by an impressive 11-point margin, the Old Trafford side still lack a consistent midfield partner for Michael Carrick.
Paul Scholes has now joined manager Sir Alex Ferguson in retirement, while his fellow one-club man Ryan Giggs has now accepted a part-time coaching role, and Darren Fletcher has not played this calendar year amid a continuing battle against illness.
New manager David Moyes identified 22-year-old Spain international Thiago as the player to help the Red Devils control the middle of the park, but the playmaker opted to join his former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola instead.
With just over a month until the new season kicks off on August 17, Moyes must turn his attention to other targets to fill the one obvious weakness in their otherwise deep squad. The new boss’ decision on a signing could determine the course of his club’s season.
Former Arsenal playmaker Cesc Fabregas has, like Thiago, struggled to establish himself in his favoured role at the Blaugrana and United submitted an opening €30 million (£25.9m) bid on Monday in the hopes of tempting him away.
Is Fabregas the right choice, tough? Luka Modric has also been unable to play every game at Real Madrid since joining from the Tottenham side he inspired to two fourth-place finishes in three years.
Each could offer the guile to emulate Scholes's influence at the Red Devils for over 15 years. Tireless Italy international Claudio Marchisio of Juventus could complement Carrick in a box-to-box role, while Moyes could look to tempt Everton’s powerful and versatile giant Marouane Fellaini to Old Trafford.
Who should Manchester United sign next? Should David Moyes attempt to bring Marouane Fellaini from Everton, focus on his push for Fabregas, try for former Tottenham star Modric or explore the Serie A-winning talent of Marchisio?
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