Following Mesut Özil’s move to Real Madrid the other day, Sir Alex Ferguson will now turn his attention to Porto’s Portuguese World Cup star Raúl Meireles.
Ferguson went back on claims that he would do no more business in the transfer market this summer when he signed Bebé from Portuguese side Vitória de Guimarães, which has led to rumours of more signings.
To be honest, I’m really not sure how many people still take Fergie seriously when he claims he’s not going to make any signings. In United’s current financial situation, however, it’s difficult to tell the extent to which his hands are tied by the Glazers.
Meireles moved to Porto in 2004 after impressing with league rivals Boavista, and has enjoyed a successful spell in his six years there, winning the Portuguese Liga four times in a row between 2005 and 2009. He made his Portugal debut in 2006, and was part of the squad that went to Euro 2008. By the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Meireles was established as an integral part of the Portugal first team, scoring against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the playoffs. He also opened Portugal’s scoring at the World Cup in South Africa, getting their first goal in the 7-0 rout against North Korea.
The dynamic midfielder was left out of Porto’s squad for their Europa League playoff tie against Belgian side Genk, further fuelling rumours that he will leave the club. As was the case with Özil, however, Ferguson will face competition from the financially superior Chelsea for Meireles’ signature, and it remains to be seen whether or not the Glazers will be prepared to stump up around £15million for the 27-year old. The Premiership champions have already added a similar player in Ramires, however, and with the strength of their midfield, it’s difficult to see how Carlo Ancelotti would be able to rotate them all. John Obi Mikel’s position in the Chelsea squad had already been called into question, and the acquisition of Meireles would all but end the Nigerian’s Chelsea career.
Conversely, Ferguson has signed a centre back and two strikers this transfer window, and United could probably do with adding a little more strength in midfield. The United manager hasn’t signed a central midfielder since the 2007-08 season, when he brought in Owen Hargreaves (crock), Anderson (playboy) and Rodrigo Possebon (crap).
Meireles certainly wouldn’t be a direct alternative to Mesut Özil; he’s a much more defence-minded player. However, Meireles would provide United with the signing of a good World Cup player, even if he didn’t set the world alight in the manner of Özil. What remains to be seen is whether or not the Glazers have set aside anything other than the £7.4million splashed out on Bebé.
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