Manchester United have invested in many pricey pieces of the jigsaw puzzle this summer, though the Red Devils failed to bring in enough central midfield cover as Roma’s Kevin Strootman evaded them.
Now, in light of Roma’s sporting director declaring the Dutchman is not up for sale, period, hopes of reviving the deal in January have subsequently been dashed.
Louis van Gaal’s links with the Dutch international don’t look like being enough to bring the all-action midfielder to Old Trafford this season then, but who could be brought in to supplement United’s engine room?
Here are four leading contenders United, who are strong 3/10 favourites to see off QPR next, could potentially pursue instead of Strootman:
William Carvalho – Sporting Lisbon
The long-time Arsenal target reportedly has a £37m buyout clause written into his contract, which judging by recent outlays will hardly raise an eyebrow from the men in charge of the club briefcase.
However, they’ll have to act quick if murmurs the Gunners are already someway into negotiations with the player prove to be true.
Geoffrey Kondogbia – Monaco
The possible ace in the pack at just 21, the former Sevilla player is such a hot prospect that Monaco were prepared to pay £16.5m for the rangy midfield spoiler only 12 months ago.
Another plus point for United is that Monaco’s big project looks a fragile one and they may just get their opportunity before any of the others become available.
Sami Khedira – Real Madrid
Ironically another major target for Arsenal this summer, the Real Madrid star excelled at the World Cup and would add undoubted quality to United’s ranks.
Christoph Kramer – Borussia Monchengladbach
The man drafted in to replace the injured Khedira in the World Cup final was so unfortunate to have to then be taken off for a head injury midway through the first half, but he’s a precocious talent.
A true defensive midfielder who is still only 23, Kramer is certainly technically smart enough to fit into LVG’s plans.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £100 in free bets.