Five players Manchester United should sign

Sports Mole selects five players that could be of interest to new Manchester United manager David Moyes.

When Manchester United were crowned the champions of England for a 20th time in April, who would have thought that they would start next season without Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout? That is the situation that the club finds itself in though.

Tasked with the job of trying to replace the irreplaceable is David Moyes, who will be under scrutiny right from the word go.

As a result, the Scot will need to make some smart signings during the summer transfer window and so with that in mind, Sports Mole has selected five players that would ensure that the transition from one Scot to another goes as smoothly as possible.

Leighton Baines, Everton

Over the last few weeks United have been linked with a list of centre-backs that is as long as your arm. But do they really need one? Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans offer the experience, while maybe it is time for Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to nail down their spots in the side. Unless there is a departure, the Reds are well-stocked in that department.

It's a similar story at left-back, but the quality is not so forthcoming. Many believe that Patrice Evra has been on the decline for the past 18 months or so, but such is the standard of competition, he is guaranteed a slot in the side when fit.

As hard as he tries, Alexander Buttner is never going to be good enough to be regarded as first choice and then there is Fabio da Silva, who despite playing in the 2011 Champions League final, has failed to push on. He spent last year at Queens Park Rangers on loan and despite their frailties, he didn't always get in the team.

Moyes knows all about Baines and the quality that he is capable of providing. The 28-year-old is a more than able defender, but is also worth a few goals each season.

His arrival could also help bring out the best in Shinji Kagawa, as we recently explained here.

Leighton Baines© PA Photos

Geoffrey Kondogbia, Sevilla

More often than not, United operate with a two-man centre of midfield sandwiched between two wingers - it's the way that they have turned out for years. Right now though, the majority of sides in Europe play with two deep-lying midfielders and one in front of those.

Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos at Bayern Munich or Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta with Barcelona for example. It even happens in England with Ramires, Frank Lampard and Oscar at Chelsea.

It's a system that Moyes, as bold it would be, may consider. They may have romped away with the title, but towards the end of the season Ferguson's men were swamped in midfield by both Manchester City and Chelsea at Old Trafford. While it was swept under the carpet because they were cruising towards a 20th league crown, it was nonetheless a worrying sight.

What United require in the heart of the midfield is their own physical presence - someone who first and foremost is there to break up attacks and win tackles in the middle of the pitch.

Standing at 6'3", Kondogbia showed in La Liga last season that he can do that effectively and at the age of just 20, he has plenty of room to improve as well.

Reports have suggested that due to the financial problems currently being suffered by Sevilla, they may accept a bid in the region of just £10m for their France Under-20 international.

Geoffrey Kondogbia© PA Photos

Thiago Alcantara, Barcelona

Of course, signing a player such as Kondogbia would probably mean that at times United would have to start with a lone centre-forward, likely to be Robin van Persie.

Kondogbia and Michael Carrick would be your more reserved duo, with perhaps Kagawa and anyone from a long list that includes the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley taking up another position, which leaves one more void to fill.

Step forward Thiago, who if some journalists are to be believed, is keen on a switch to Old Trafford. He wants to play in next year's World Cup, but that won't happen if he continues to keep Barca's bench warm.

Providing that his form is good and he avoids injury, United would be able to offer him the starting action that he craves.

In return, the champions will be getting a player who has an eye for a pass, quick feet and the ability to score goals from midfield - as highlighted by his hat-trick during the final of the recent European Under-21 Championships.

Also, with a release clause in the region of £18m, the 22-year-old could prove to be a bargain signing.

Marco van Ginkel, Vitesse Arnhem

It's been such a long time since that the United midfield had an overhaul, hasn't it? Not since the 2007 acquisitions of Owen Hargreaves, Nani and Anderson has it been freshened up.

Reports have claimed that Moyes may look to sign up to three players to bolster what has been a stale-looking engine room at times.

Van Ginkel is a name that has been linked and United scout Jim Lawlor is believed to have watched the 20-year-old in action at the same tournament where Thiago displayed his goalscoring boots.

He shone in Holland last season, scoring eight times and making 10 assists for his teammates. Those were statistics that saw him named the Dutch Talent of the Year for the 2012-13 campaign.

Due to his size and knack of being in the right place at the right time, Van Ginkel has been likened to United legend Paul Scholes.

Roberto Soldado, Valencia

If hasn't been sorted between Moyes and Wayne Rooney already then the England international's future needs to be concluded soon. The last thing the incoming boss would want is for that to drag on throughout the summer.

If Rooney stays at Old Trafford and providing that Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck remain where they are, United do not need another frontman.

However, should they lose Rooney's services, at a club like United, you need to replace quality with quality.

Robert Lewandowski is busy flirting with Bayern, Edinson Cavani is rather expensive and Radamel Falcao has shacked up with Monaco for this season at least. All of which means that the supply of clinical strikers is running out.

There is one though who is currently playing for Valencia. Soldado has scored 82 goals in 141 outings for Los Che, but because of their debt, it is thought that they are prepared to part with their 28-year-old for around £12m. His recent form has been that good that he is now in pole position to lead the Spain attack at the World Cup.

At his age Soldado is in his prime years and at that price, it wouldn't be a risky addition.

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Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara in action on May 1, 2013
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The Manchester battle for Thiago Alcantara

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