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Five alternatives to Thiago Alcantara for Manchester United

Having lost out on signing Thiago Alcantara, Sports Mole picks out five other midfield options for Manchester United.

It's back to the drawing board for Manchester United manager David Moyes as far as his pursuit of a new midfielder is concerned.

If speculation is to be believed, then the Scot was keen to land Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara, but last night he was pipped by German and European champions Bayern Munich for the Spanish Under-21 international.

So, what is Plan B? Here, Sports Mole has selected five other players who could bolster an area of the pitch that Moyes has recently confessed is in need of bolstering.

Luka Modric, Real Madrid

It was reported at the time that Sir Alex Ferguson was eager to sign the Croatian last summer when it was known that he was to leave Tottenham Hotspur, but Modric eventually opted to try his luck at Real Madrid.

While his ability has never been in question, it's fair to say that he has struggled to settle in at Real Madrid. Costing around £30m, the Los Blancos faithful had expected the 27-year-old to make an instant impact.

He failed to produce that, although there were moments of magic, including a goal during the Champions League tie against United which eventually saw Madrid advance through.

There is a new coach at the Santiago Bernabeu in the form of Carlo Ancelotti, who has already recruited Isco and Asier Illarramendi to boost his midfield options. Nobody can be 100% certain regarding Ancelotti's plans, but it would be surprising if they involved Modric on a regular basis.

What's more, should Moyes bring him back to the Premier League, his arrival would not carry with it an element of risk. Modric has already proved that he can cope with the demands of English football.

Luka Modric of Croatia and Andy King of Wales© PA Photos

Arturo Vidal, Juventus

There are not too many midfielders like Vidal at this present moment in time. He is a box-to-box player in a similar way that Roy Keane and Bryan Robson marauded around the pitch during the early parts of their United careers.

His Italian employers would probably be reluctant to sell the Chilean international, but they do have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to midfield options, including former United youngster Paul Pogba.

It means that the Old Lady could be tempted into doing business, although it may well take a hefty bid from the Premier League champions.

What the 26-year-old would provide to the United midfield is energy and power - something that is clearly lacking when you scroll down the current squad list.

As well as having the ability to break up dangerous attacks, Vidal is also capable of scoring goals, particularly from distance. He found the net 10 times in Serie A last season and added five more goals in all competitions.

Marouane Fellaini, Everton

The advantage of this deal would be that Moyes is familiar with Fellaini's attributes. In fact, having given the Belgium international his chance in the English game back in 2008, there will not be too much that Moyes does not know about his game.

Fellaini's performances last year were his most productive for Everton in terms of goals scored, having converted 12 chances in total.

It would be fair to say that United need two midfielders - one with attacking intent and one who acts as a shield in front of the back four. Unlike a lot of midfielders, Fellaini can do both.

Standing at 6'4" the 25-year-old rarely gets muscled out of possession, while he is also a major asset to have in both penalty areas.

Marouane Fellaini© PA Photos

Mesut Ozil, Real Madrid

The pint-sized German has been one of Madrid's better players since his arrival from Werder Bremen in the summer of 2010, when he was also incidentally heavily linked with the Red Devils.

With that in mind, it probably seems like an odd suggestion to make that they may consider parting with him.

However, having signed Isco, and with Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo able to operate on either flank behind a lone centre-forward to add balance to the side, Ozil may find himself squeezed out from time to time. Ancelotti is also known to be a fan of Kaka, who has struggled to live up this his £50m price tag so far.

At the end of the upcoming campaign is the World Cup in Brazil and with competition for places in the German side fierce to say the least, Ozil will not want to have spent the previous few months among the substitutes.

His addition would be a real coup for Moyes and one that would certainly start to get any supporter who has been left concerned by his appointment on his side.

Koke, Atletico Madrid

The 21-year-old will not be the first name of the lips of United fans, particularly when they picked up this morning's newspapers and saw their side being linked with Cesc Fabregas.

In reality, though, is Fabregas going to swap his life in the city that he loves for the 'Moyes Revolution'? Doubtful.

Someone who may consider such a move is Koke, who featured regularly as Atletico qualified for next season's Champions League and won the Copa del Rey at the expense of their more glamorous city rivals Real Madrid.

Despite the talent at Julen Lopetegui's disposal earlier this summer, he still deemed Koke's ability good enough to feature for the Spanish Under-21 side as they managed to retain their European Championship title.

He may not score many goals, but Koke is a real creative force, which has seen him dubbed 'the new Xabi Alonso' in his homeland.


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Spain's Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring against Uruguay on February 6, 2013
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