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Five midfield alternatives to Kevin Strootman for Manchester United

| 27.01.2015

Manchester United, odds-on 4/9 with Coral for a top four finish, have long been in search of a new central midfielder, with Louis van Gaal having reportedly made fellow Dutchman Kevin Strootman is key transfer target.

However, Old Trafford’s newest boss may be set to miss out on the powerful enforcer with Strootman recently limping out of Roma’s Serie A clash against Fiorentina after just 34 minutes.

The 24-year-old worked under Van Gaal at international level with the Netherlands, but his latest setback could scupper United’s chances of securing a deal for the injury-prone maestro.

With Strootman set to remain in Italy, Coral suggest five alternatives that the Red Devils could sign this month in a bid to bolster their squad, as they aim to push for a Champions League return next season.

Morgan Schneiderlin
Southampton’s sensational Schneiderlin has been a key feature in his side’s rise to prominence in the current Premier League campaign. The menacing midfielder was vital to the Saints’ recent 1-0 victory over United at Old Trafford, showing a proven calmness and composure in possession, as well as thwarting his opponents’ forward moves. Ronald Koeman’s formidable Frenchman is able to positively begin his team’s attacks from deep while also chipping in with some important goals, and he could give Van Gaal another assuring outlet for the Red Devils midfield this season.

Axel Witsel
The Belgium international recently stated his desire to play in the Premier League, claiming he would be open to a move to a top European club. With United on the verge of making a welcome return to Champions League football next season, Van Gaal may look to Witsel as a suitable central enforcer. The 26-year-old, who joined Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg from Benfica for a reported £32.5m in 2012, is a similar player to current Old Trafford midfielder and fellow Belgian Marouane Fellaini. Both players boast a towering stature and a possible link-up with his international teammate could provide the Red Devils with a powerful presence in midfield.

Alex Song
West Ham United’s pivotal playmaker has performed brilliantly this season since his return to England from Barcelona last summer. The former Arsenal midfielder has helped the Hammers climb to within four points of a Champions League place with his dynamic displays in the heart of midfield. Sam Allardyce’s athletic central man has been a revelation at Upton Park since his season-long loan move to London, but with the ex-Cameroon international unlikely to return to the Nou Camp, United could benefit from the 27-year-old’s magnificent midfield attributes.

Nigel de Jong
Van Gaal could look to another Dutchman to solve his midfield woes, with AC Milan’s dominating defensive De Jong reportedly interested in a switch back to England. The 29-year-old would provide his former national team boss with some much needed stability in front of United’s defence, with the former Manchester City star possibly the cheapest option for Van Gaal after failing to agree a new deal at the San Siro.

William Carvalho
Powerful Portugal central midfielder Carvalho has been tipped for a move to England’s top-flight for a the last two years, with United and Arsenal being linked with his signature. The Sporting Lisbon star has a very physically approach, using his energy and defensive instincts to halt attacks and began his own. Carvalho’s courageous qualities could make the 22-year-old a hit at Old Trafford, following the likes of Roy Keane and Bryan Robson with an aggressive approach in midfield. United could do with some assurance in the centre of their spine as Van Gaal’s men aim to capture a first FA Cup crown since 2004, and are 11/4 to do so this year.



Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.