Whilst Manchester United have opened up a healthy lead on their nearest Premier League rivals, you can bet that Sir Alex Ferguson is already trying to figure out how he’s going to strengthen his side summer.
Sir Alex is football’s Great white shark, a restless, ruthless beast who’s always swimming forward. And just ask Roberto Mancini what happens once he’s picked up a scent of blood…
This brings me to Manchester United’s summer plans. Where will they look to strengthen when the transfer window re-opens?
The most obvious answer is the midfield. Whilst aging stars like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are continuing to perform to a high level, there’s no telling when they’ll suddenly reach their ‘sell-by date’.
This has long been a concern for the Manchester United hierarchy and Fergie has countered it by bringing in players like Shinji Kagawa (who had his best performance in a United shirt against Norwich City at the weekend). But you get the feeling that there’s more to come from Fergie when it comes to strengthening this area of the pitch.
According to Spanish source AS, Manchester United have been scouting Real Betis’ ace midfielder, Benat Etxebarria Urkiaga (let’s just call him Benat!). Like Kagawa, he’s a goal-scoring midfielder, but he’s also a good all-rounder.
He’s one of La Liga’s top assists makers and is being heralded as one of the best creative talents in Spanish football.
He’s also been ear-marked as Xavi’s understudy in the Spanish International side. I’d say he’s keeping with some pretty good company in that regard!
He’s great at finding time and space on the ball and then spraying it into dangerous areas. Whilst he lacks Paul Scholes’ competitive edge, he has enough in the locker to help keep United incisive as they move forward.
So, let’s get down to the money. It’s thought that any interested party would have to trigger the player’s £16m release clause to help persuade Real Betis to sell. Sir Alex, on the other hand, has never been afraid to splash the cash when necessary and £16m certainly isn’t out of his league.
Given how highly thought of Benat is throughout Spanish football, I’d say he’d make for an excellent Manchester United investment.
What’s your take? Should Sir Alex continue to pursue Benat, or should they look elsewhere for their ‘midfield fix’?
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