Date:10th July 2011 at 11:40am
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Alexis Sanchez is hot property but a move to United would be bestEven before Paul Scholes announced his retirement at the end of May, Manchester United have been crying out for a replacement.

The signings of Phil Jones, David De Gea and Ashley Young are certainly exciting prospects but none can plug the gap left in the centre of midfield. Sir Alex Ferguson’s pursuit of Alexis Sanchez may be a mouth-watering proposition for the Premier League but he is not the player that Manchester United currently need.

Fast and tricky Alexis Sanchez has been attracting interest from around Europe (with the frontrunners currently looking to be Barcelona) and whilst he would offer Manchester United another attacking dimension, Alex Ferguson already has the likes of Ashley Young and Nani who can play the same role.

The lack of depth and match-winning quality in the centre of midfield is something that Fergie must address and he can’t be distracted by any bidding wars for the likes of Sanchez.

The current central midfield line-up includes Ryan Giggs, Darron Gibson, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Anderson. Giggs will continue to offer quality in the centre of the park but at 37 can’t be expected to consistently start every game. The other four all offer Fergie Premier League quality (e.g. Carrick’s passing and Fletcher’s work ethic) but there is no midfield enforcer that can sit in front of the defence and break up play whilst Fergie also lacks a creative attacking midfielder who can burst forward and link with the attack.

But what are Fergie’s options in the transfer window? Roma’s Daniele De Rossi is a tough central midfielder with European and international experience whilst Javi Martinez shone at the recent European U21Championships playing as a deep lying midfielder despite being more of a box to box player.

Ferguson’s interest in Arsenal’s Samir Nasri also pinpoints that Fergie is willing to address the need for a creative force in the centre of the park. Other possible players that would fill that role could include Wesley Sneijder, Luka Modric and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Any of these names above would offer the vision, technique and goal threat to work as the linchpin for United in the centre of the park. The only problem may come down to transfer funds, with any player of considerable quality demanding such high fees. Fergie may have to be willing to continue to spend big to really replace Scholes.

With the chase for Sanchez still on Ferguson can’t be distracted by the Udinese winger. I would love to see Sanchez in the Premier League but Fergie must first address current squad problems rather than trying to out-bid their rivals for a player they don’t really need.

Written by Jenny Kerwood of Football FanCast