As we near the end of the Euro 2012 group stage, it seems like as good a time as any to discuss potential United transfer targets.
Of course, we have all been doing this since the season ended anyway, but here are a few players who have impressed me in the last two weeks.
With three goals in two games, the obvious star from Group A is Alan Dzagoev.
The just-22-year-old has been on our radar before. He has been linked with Old Trafford, as well as Stamford Bridge and the Emirates plenty of times in the past.
It was thought that Chelsea would be favourites should a battle for his signature ensue (he has said he is a Chelsea fan plus the Abramovich/Russian connection), but their recent signings mean that they have little need for this kind of player – although I do reckon he would be a great long-term replacement for Frank Lampard.
The Russian has shown he can do it on the highest stage. He has a certain gracefulness on the ball and can really pick a pass. Dzagoev also offers goals from midfield, something we have lacked for some time now.
Learning from Carrick and Scholes would be a real benefit and I wouldn’t mind seeing the youngster at Old Trafford in the near future. However, after an already impressive Euro campaign, his value is set to rocket and that would definitely put Sir Alex off.
Another player that has caught my eye in Group A is Greece midfielder Kostas Fortounis.
The 19-year-old Kaiserslautern playmaker came off the bench in Greece’s opener against Poland to change to game. His pass over the defence which eventually saw the Greeks win a penalty was superb and he was never afraid to take on his man.
Labelled ‘The Greek Messi’, he actually reminds me of Kaka. Although not as quick as the Brazilian in his younger days, Fortounis is so relaxed on the ball. He can change pace of the game with the ball at his feet or by finding a teammate through four defenders from 40 yards.
Fortounis played 18 times for Kaiserslauten last season which is no mean feat for someone so young.
My guess is it won’t be long before one of the bigger German clubs comes in for him or maybe someone from England. Either way I would urge United scouts to take a closer look.
A new left-back seems to be on most people’s agenda this summer, both as an understudy and competition to Patrice Evra.
While Leighton Baines seems to be an obvious choice (Solid defensively, excellent going forward and would be relatively cheap), I must admit I like the look of Croatian full-back Ivan Strinic.
Strinic was excellent against Italy in Croatia’s last game and will have to be even better on Monday when he faces Spain.
At only 24 Strinic is still pretty young. Like Baines he loves to get forward, providing quality in the final third, although he never shirks his defensive responsibility.
The Dnipro defender is just what we are looking for, but, similarly to Dzagoev, his price will be inflated should he continue his excellent form.
I have been swooning over Strinic’s fellow Croat Luka Modric for years now, so he will get a mention in this, or any transfer related piece I write, but obviously we all know what Modric can bring to our midfield so I won’t go on too much.
Buy him whatever the price!
Finally, the Ukranian winger Andriy Yarmolenko has probably impressed everyone these last two weeks.
It is to my detriment that I haven’t seen more of the Dynamo Kiev winger in the last couple of years because he really is something special.
After breaking into the Kiev first-team in 2008, the winger has got better and better, contributing 12 goals last season and at just 22, he is only going to get better.
Yarmolenko is very quick, excellent technically and very versatile. He can play on either wing but likes to wonder and get involved in play. Always ready to beat his man, the Ukranian is also a hard worker, he will track back all day long – something Old Trafford coaches will admire.
I would love to see Yarmolenko come to United. Like Valencia with more trickery or a young Giggs, he would both compliment and challenge our current wingers.
Unfortunately, it has always been the 22-year-old’s dream to follow in the footsteps of legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko, and move to Milan. And that dream seems set to become a reality this summer.
If Yarmolenko does go elsewhere though, I would suggest we take a look at his international partner in crime Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Also 22, also a very skilful and intelligent winger, Konoplyanka is a teammate of Ivan Strinic at club level – perhaps a double swoop at Dnipro could benefit United this summer.
I’ll be back with a few more players who would fit in nicely at Old Trafford during the week. Make sure you post anyone who has caught your eye in the comments below.
Follow Daniel on Twitter:@Daniel_S_Cross