Manchester United have been linked with a January transfer swoop for TWO playmaking midfielders.
Manager David Moyes is looking to strengthen his squad in the New Year after an up and down start to the season, and the centre of midfield continues to be a problem area of the team despite the £27.5m signing of Marouane Fellaini from Moyes' former club Everton.
The Red Devils have been linked with a plethora of midfielders since the summer transfer window closed, including Wesley Sneijder, Miralem Pjanic, Koke and Remy Cabella, but two recurring names are Ander Herrera of Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan.
Herrera was the subject of a failed £25m bid from United over the summer, with Athletic wanting over £30m for the 24 year old. United reportedly tried to resurrect the deal on deadline day, but a mix up at the LFP offices in Spain curtailed the deal as 'agents' arrived claiming to be representing United, when they were imposters all along.
Gundogan was a star during Dortmund's incredible run to the Champions League final, and scored from the penalty spot as Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 2-1 by Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley. Real Madrid and Arsenal have been strongly linked with the 23 year old, who is likely to star for Germany at the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
And now, with the January transfer window approaching, it seems United are set to rekindle their interest in both players in a bid to claw back the nine point deficit from leaders Arsenal. Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph reported today that United have made the two midfielders their primary targets once the window re-opens, along with Everton left back Leighton Baines.
However, with both players likely to command fees in excess of £30m each, do United really need to pursue both players?
It's understandable if they believe that they won't land one of them, but with Herrera available for his £31m release clause, that seems unlikely. Whilst Fellaini hasn't been fantastic since his move from Goodison Park, United still have Michael Carrick – who recently signed a new contract at Old Trafford – and the 32 year old still has a couple of years at the top left in him. United certainly need to land another central midfielder in January, particularly if Darren Fletcher struggles upon his return and if Anderson leaves the club, and while Gundogan is the best player of the two, he has missed the entire season with an injury.
But Herrera is arguably more creative, which is what United need alongside Fellaini in the future. Gundogan's contract in Dortmund runs until 2015, but was recently in talks to extend his stay at the club, which would effectively end United's chances of signing him.
Either player would be fantastic for United, but and pursuing both players may just be a case of the club hedging their bets, but if you ask us whether they will buy both, the answer will certainly be no.
image: © Paolo Camera