Man Utd set sights on younger, better Carrick after Vidal snub

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Another star midfielder can be added to the growing list of players to shun a move to Manchester United over the last few seasons, as their latest target, Arturo Vidal publicly rebuffed their advances.

Forced deep into Plans J, K or even L after all their transfer failures, United have turned to Ligue 1 for their next desired centre-circle dweller, with a move that would surely see Michael Carrick replaced at Old Trafford.

PSG’s Marco Verratti is reportedly the latest man Louis van Gaal has in his sights and, just like all the linked midfielders before him, the Italian would seriously improve the Red Devils’ middle section.

Dubbed the next Andrea Pirlo, Verratti is a pass master that likes to operate from a deep-lying position and his stats for the French champions last season indicate he’d be a significant upgrade on the former Spurs creator.

Carrick attempted 2051 passes during the Premier League season last term, successfully completing 88.6 per cent of them. Verratti, though, made played exactly 300 more passes than the Geordie and holds a far more impressive success rate at 91.4 per cent.

With Ander Herrera on board to pull the Red Devils’ strings from further up the field, his central partner will need to be defensively adept and Verratti certainly is, having made the third-most tackles in the PSG squad last season and the fifth-most interceptions.

The 21-year-old Italian has a contract that runs until 2018 so may cost a pretty penny to sign, but with Van Gaal claiming United are ready to shell out mega-bucks and Verratti’s playing time pinched by Yohan Cabaye’s arrival, a deal could be amenable.

Despite Herrera’s arrival, the Dutch coach is acutely aware his midfield is the weakest area of the squad and will be desperate to recruit more bodies to it in order to preserve the club’s 5/1 title chances.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.