Date:5th December 2010 at 10:00am
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Yes, Christmas is finally here.

Well, not really, but we have already entered the festive period and whilst many are counting down to the 25th of December and the New Year, most football fans are counting down to the opening of the winter transfer window! I don’t normally get excited about January transfer windows since they are usually low-key for us, our last major January signings being Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic for a total fee of £12.5m but for those who have experienced the Football Manager™ revolution, it can be fun to speculate on squad changes! Here are some thoughts in bullet points:

1. Replacing the old guard: You might have noticed that we have a fair few oldies in our squad who will be most probably retire in a year or two. I think we are well covered for Gary Neville (who hasn’t really been indispensable recently) with Rafael finally showing some kind of consistency. I still hope De Laet has a future at United, given his versatility and promise. Yesterday I read Giggs hinting about this season being his last and we could see problems in ‘replacing’ Giggs and Scholes. We do have Anderson at the moment, but unless Gibson gets more chances, I don’t think we would have enough options in midfield once the Ginger Prince leaves. I am more worried about our left wing. Park is an able winger, but he is more dangerous when he ventures infield and as for Obertan, he also looks better just behind the striker. We are crying out for a natural left-winger. If only Adam Johnson was really unhappy at Eastlands…

2. VDS defying Father Time: Van Der Sar has been a mainstay of the United side for some time now and as he recently turned 40 and with Fergie effectively saying that this season could be his last, we need some changes in the goalkeeping department. With Lindegaard joining us in January, speculation about incoming goalkeepers refuses to go away. We could potentially have an unhappy Kuszczak on our hands too who despite his less than stellar performance against West Ham during the week, I still value and I would be gutted if he didn’t get a crack at the No.1 spot.

If he does leave, I would rather have someone with more experience than Lindegaard. If we are planning to throw cash at this, instead of a young De Gea who admittedly is a tremendous talent, I would rather go for Lloris or even Buffon! Akinfeev looks good too and very experienced for his young age but I don’t know if how long he might take to settle down in North West England.

3. Creative attacking midfielder™: United have been in need of a creative attacking midfielder for years. I don’t remember us ever having a creative attacking midfielder in the last 10 years, not in the mould of the ones we have been linked to. Scholes has been very creative for us, but he likes to lie deep and occasionally venture in the area for a goal or two. Fans and the press have been talking about Sneijder, Ozil and Van Der Vaart who I think would definitely improve our side, but we are not a team who just buy players who would theoretically make us have a stronger starting XI, so we need to think about what exactly we need and what we could realistically acquire.

I, for one, don’t think we are screaming for a creative attacking midfielder we just need more options in the centre of midfield and I think Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is stalling over a new contract, would be an utterly brilliant acquisition… Even Ballack thinks so!

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