With nine matches at the World Cup now complete fans have witnessed a low-key start to the tournament,with few teams willing to risk losing first time out. With a number of reported Manchester United transfer targets to watch, interest remains high and Rant looks at a handful of speculated targets and those who could do well at Old Trafford.
The Danish central defender, who stands out with long shocking blonde hair and an alice band, is currently on Palermo’s books in Italy’s Serie A but is consistently linked with an expensive move to the Premier League. Outspoken Palermo President claims a bid from either United or Manchester City, with Nemanja Vidic’s departure from Old Trafford seeming more likely by the day.
Kjaer, who featured in Denmark’s uninspiring 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands at Soccer City Johannesburg, looked comfortable in possession but was frequently caught out by the Dutch forwards’ movement, getting the wrong side of Robin van Persie on more than one occasion. Worst was to come in the second half, when the 20-year-old defender reacted slowly to Eljero Elia’s shot and was beaten to the rebound by Dirk Kuyt for the Netherlands’ second goal.
Werder Bremen’s talented Turkish-German midfielder was outstanding in a 4-0 win over Australia last night, dictating tempo and floating in between midfield and attack. Contracted to the German club until June 2011, many suspect the midfielder will move on this summer to a bigger European stage. Not that Özil’s talents have come as a surprise to English scouts, with the 21-year-old simply brilliant for Germany last summer against England in the European Under-21 Championship final.
United’s lack of creative talent in central midfield with Paul Scholes’ legs getting no younger has many fans salivating over the youthful Özil. Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of the player who will cost around €10 million with less than a year on the player’s contract remaining.
Tactically, Özil remains something of a throwback with the player’s floating role in the German side not one many Premier League teams deploy. The risk, undoubtedly, is that Özil would get lost in a traditional 4-4-2 system.
The Dutch Young Player of the Year demonstrated much of his undoubted talent in Hamburg’s run to the Europa League semi-final last season. A winger of genuine pace, the 23-year-old surprisingly slipped threw Ajax’ famous youth academy before joining ADO Den Haag and then Twente Enschede. The player moved to Hamburg for around €8.5 million last summer. But with Hamburg finishing outside the European places a strong World Cup tournament will surely alert major powers to Elia’s talents.
Previously linked to a move to Liverpool, Elia has said he does not plan to move away from the Bundesliga side this summer. The player’s brilliant cameo performance against Denmark today may change all that.
The floppy-haired CSKA Moscow midfielder excelled in two fixtures against United in the Champions League last season prompting media speculation about a move to Old Trafford. Although the Serb is highly likely to move this summer he has gone on record saying his preference is for a transfer to Italy. Rafael Benitez’ Inter Milan is reportedly interested.
However, the right-sided midfielder struggled to make an impact as Serbia lost to Ghana on Sunday afternoon. The Black Stars’ victory owing much to the African’s adventurous outlook, with Serbia negative and unsurprising. Indeed, Krasić took the brunt of media criticism in the Serbian press today for a poor quality performance.
Rafael Van der Vaart
Linked to a £20 million move to Old Trafford, van der Vaart’s season has swung from lows to high and back again. The Real Madrid midfielder began the season without a squad number and seemingly on his way out of Santiago Bernabeu. However, Kaká’s injury proved a blessing, with the Dutchman excelling over the closing weeks of the season. Word on the street has it that the Madrid hierarchy would gladly sacrifice the former Ajax playmaker if the right bid is forthcoming.
The left-sided midfielder began Netherland’s match against Denmark this afternoon but consistently took up the same positions as his more illustrious compatriot Wesley Sneider and was eventually substituted for the aforementioned Elia.