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Manchester City v Manchester United Preview

City-Utd

The first Manchester derby of the season is here as Manchester City and Manchester United resume their rivalry on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium which could provide vital momentum in the title race.

Roberto Mancini’s City emerged victorious in both the Premier League encounters last season, winning 6-1 at Old Trafford and 1-0 at home before winning the title in the most dramatic style on the final day of the season.

The reigning champions have made a decent start to the defence of their crown and remain unbeaten after 15 games, but it is United who have a three-point advantage at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s meeting. There have been indications that it is already a two-horse race for the Premier League title, with others rivals – Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – struggling for consistency.

City’s participation in the Champions League and even Europe came to an end with a 1-0 loss to the Bundesliga champions – Borussia Dortmund in the midweek, while they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last weekend after a less than impressive performance. United, on the other, were also beaten 1-0 (at home) by CFR Cluj but had already won the group so Sir Alex Ferguson was able to rotate his squad. The 19-time league champions overcame Reading 4-3 last weekend and have been in superb form going forward all season, but it was yet another match in which they fell behind and this time not once but twice.

Ferguson will surely be demanding greater concentration against a team that has the best defensive record in the league and haven’t lost a single game at home since December 2010. The Scot says it would be one of United’s best-ever results if they can win on Sunday.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester City

City’s influential playmaker David Silva will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the Manchester derby at home. The Spanish international missed the Champions League loss to Dortmund with a hamstring injury but remains in contention and is batting to take part on Sunday. Aleksandar Kolarov has been ruled out with a groin problem and Micah Richards (knee) is still sidelined. Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) both should be available for selection, while James Milner (hamstring) is likely to miss out.

Manchester United

Tom Cleverley is doubtful for Manchester United after limping out in the first half of the game against Cluj and will have a scan on his calf injury. Sir Alex Ferguson has also revealed that Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic (both) are struggling to be fit in time for the derby and may completely be ready for the Sunderland game. Antonio Valencia (thigh), Nani and Anderson (both hamstring) have been ruled out of the important clash, while the likes of Robin van Persie and Patrice Evra are set to return to the starting XI after being rested in midweek.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 164
Manchester City Wins – 46
Draw – 50
Manchester United Wins – 68

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

30-Apr-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United
08-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
23-Oct-11 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
07-Aug-12 – Community Shield – Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United
16-Apr-11 – FA Cup – Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

FORM GUIDE

Manchester City – LDWDD
The Citizens have been unbeaten in the league so far this season and are just three points behind leaders Manchester United in the standings. But they have won just once and drawn thrice in their last five games in all competitions, with the only win coming at Wigan. A win on Sunday will take them above United in the league table on goal difference.

04-Dec-12 – Champions League – Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Manchester City 1-1 Everton
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester City
25-Nov-12 – Premier League – Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
21-Nov-12 – Champions League – Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid

Manchester United – LWWWL
The Red Devils come into this match on the back of three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are sitting three points clear of their opponents at the top of the table. But they haven’t hit top gear and their defensive frailties have already been exposed. A win on Sunday will be massive one and will take them six points clear of City at the top.

05-Dec-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 0-1 CFR Cluj
01-Dec-12 – Premier League – Reading 3-4 Manchester United
28-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
24-Nov-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-1 Queens Park Rangers
20-Nov-12 – Champions League – Galatasaray 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)
The Belgium international scored the only goal in last season’s 1-0 win over United at the Etihad stadium – which won them the title – and was also as solid as rock at the back. The club captain is an inspirational presence for Roberto Mancini, and his match-up against Robin van Persie will see arguably two of the best players in their respective positions battling in a mouth-watering clash. How he copes with the Dutchman and what he can offer going forward will be the key to the outcome of the game, but one thing is for sure – if Kompany is on form, City are a very hard team to beat.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
All eyes have been on Robin van Persie this season, and – even Javier Hernandez has gone past Wayne Rooney in the goal-scoring charts, but numbers alone do not tell the full influence of the 27-year-old on his side. With the Dutch forward being the target man of the strike force, Rooney will certainly drop deeper when United lose possession, and will try to create chances from further back in the final third. His work rate and distribution are very important in clashes like these, and with two strikes in his last league game at Reading, the England forward may be in line for a hot goal-scoring streak.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany (C), Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri; Sergio Aguero.

City XI

City manager Roberto Mancini is likely to recall Yaya Toure back to the squad after resting him for the Champions League game against Dortmund, while David Silva may well recover from his hamstring injury in time for the big game. Joe Hart continues in goal as Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic will play ahead of him in centre of the defence. Aleksandar Kolarov (groin) has been ruled out, which means Gael Clichy could be rushed back after recovering from his ankle injury, but should he not be ready Joleon Lescott could slot in or Pablo Zabaleta could switch sides win Maicon coming in on the right side. Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure are expected to shield the defence as Silva, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri could play in a more advance role. Sergio Aguero is likely to lead the line for the hosts, with both Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko coming off the bench at some point during the game.

Manchester United (4-3-3): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Ashley Young.

United XI

Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to continue with David De Gea in goal after the keeper made his return to first team action against CFR Cluj in the Champions League. Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra are all expected to be back in defence after being rested during the midweek defeat at home. With Valencia and Nani both out, United are expected to play with the same formation (4-3-3) that won at Reading. Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes will make the three-man midfield with Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young further up the pitch, playing on either side of Robin van Persie. Shinji Kagawa is expected to make the bench, while the inform Javier Hernandez will be an option should the visitors need a goal at some stage of the game.

OPTA FACTS

  • 3 – Man Utd have won 1-0 against City three times in their last six Premier League games at the Etihad.
  • 5 – There have been just five goals scored in the last six league meetings between City and United at the Etihad Stadium and no more than one in any of those games.
  • 10 – Robin van Persie is joint-top scorer in the league, with 10 goals alongside Demba Ba, Michu and Luis Suarez – Man City’s top scorer is Carlos Tevez with seven.
  • 36 – City (15) and United (21) have come from behind to win a combined 36 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.
  • 21 – Man City and Man Utd have been awarded more penalties than any other side in the Premier League since the start of 2010-11.

REFEREE

Name – Martin Atkinson
Based – Yorkshire
Age – 41
Games – 18
Yellow Cards – 71
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Manchester City 13/10, Draw 12/5, Manchester United 21/10

PREDICTION

As both teams have pulled away from the rest at the top of the table, it could turn out to be a very close affair decided by a moment of brilliance or a mistake. City will be looking to attack at home and take full advantage of United’s weaknesses at the back, while the Red Devils will hope to avoid conceding the first goal again but have also shown the determination and character to win games from losing positions. With the winner taking the top spot in the league table, both teams will look to get the 3 points. United have the firepower, but City have a very solid defence, making the hosts slight favourites. Expect United to get something out of this one, maybe a high scoring draw.

Predicted Score: Manchester City 2-2 Manchester United

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Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 13

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting thirteenth weekend in the Premier League. Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Chelsea, Stoke City, Norwich City, Southampton and Wigan Athletic.

Petr Cech (Chelsea)

It has been a difficult past week for Chelsea, but the Czech international keeper has show some good leadership qualities during it. He was once again commanding in the draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, making a number of good saves.

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

The Argentine international put in another professional display against Chelsea on Sunday and showed everyone why he is preferred ahead of Maicon and the injured Micah Richards for the big games. He was solid in the defence and always prepared to join the attack, looking to become the extra man in attack in an attempt to make the difference.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

Stoke recorded their sixth clean sheet of the season during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Fulham. The former Manchester United defender has played a leading role in making the Potters defence watertight and over the weekend he led by example, and also came close to finding the target as he struck the crossbar.

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

Much of the focus before and during City’s trip to Chelsea was on the Blues’ new interim boss Rafael Benitez, but the City skipper was man of the match on the pitch. The Belgium international was solid as a rock at the back and showed no signs of his ankle injury that required heavy strapping. He kept Fernando Torres quiet throughout the whole game and made numerous blocks, interceptions and clearances.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

The Canaries have stretched their unbeaten run to six game and much of the credit goes to this Cameroon international. It doesn’t matter who Chris Hughton pairs him with, he seems to shine. He was the man who earned Norwich a share of the spoils at Goodison Park, and was also a rock at the back as Everton were restricted to just one goal in front of their own supporters.

Anderson (Manchester United)

The Brazilian has not actually shined during his time at Old Trafford, but on Saturday against QPR he entirely changed the game. He physicality in the midfield pushed United on following his introduction in the second half after going a goal down and his assist for Chicharito’s goal was top class.

Darren Fletcher (Manchester United)

On Saturday afternoon,  it didn’t look like it was the Scot’s first Premier League game for over a year as he put in a display that surely would have pleased the manager and the fans alike. He was not at his very best but made the most number passes in the game than any another player, and also scored an excellent header to put United ahead.

Gaston Ramirez (Southampton)

There has been a lot of talk of the Uruguayan international before his arrival to England and on Sunday he showed his true potential in Southampton’s 2-0 win over Newcastle. He put in an outstanding performance, as he set up the first goal for Adam Lallana and scored the second himself. He linked up perfectly with Lallana and Rickie Lambert as the hosts looked far more threatening going forward.

Jordi Gomez (Wigan Athletic)

His own fans were jeering him earlier in the game but his response was as emphatic as you can get. He scored an injury time goal that not only completely his hat-trick but also nicked all three points for the hosts against Reading on Saturday. He became the only second Spaniard ever to notch three goals in the same game – after Fernando Torres.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

Much like his Tottenham team-mates, the Welshman has not really hit the heights so far this season, but a good display in the North London derby defeat to Arsenal last weekend looks to have woken him up. He scored a nice goal and was an ever-present threat to the West Ham defence during the 3-1 win at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

The England international striker is certainly enjoying his like under Andre Villas-Boas, as the former Porto and Chelsea boss prefers to play him in the lone striker role. His good form continued on Sunday with a brace against his former team, taking his tally for the season to seven.

Premier League’s Top 10 Most Expensive Teenagers

With both Oscar and Lucas Moura linked with big money moves to Chelsea and Manchester United this summer, we look at the teenagers who joined a Premier League club for big money in the past. Here are Premier League’s top 10 most expensive teenagers.  

10. GARETH BALE: SOUTHAMPTON –> TOTTENHAM – £7m

The young Welsh full-back burst onto the scene at Southampton as a 16-year-old in 2006, immediately becoming the Saints’ first choice left-back and free-kick specialist. Manchester United and Arsenal were both interested in the teenager but Bale signed for the White Hart Lane club in 2007 for a fee in the region of £5m (rising to £10m based on appearances), but a year later it was settled to £7m. The Welsh international had a bizarre start to his career at White Hart Lane as he struggled with injuries and bad luck. Bale eventually settled in at the club and made a name for himself as a left winger. Bale is one of the most dangerous left wingers around in the game and also won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award in 2010-11 for his eye-catching performances in the league and in Europe.

9. CONNOR WICKHAM: IPSWICH –> SUNDERLAND – £7m (RISING TO £12m)

Wickham made a name for himself in the nPower Championship with Ipswich Town by scoring a total of  15 goals in two full seasons. The England under-21 international attracted a lot of interest from many Premier League clubs, but in the end Sunderland made the move and brought him to the Stadium of Light at the start of last season. The 6ft 3in striker, who is tipped to be a future England star, had a bad first season in the Premier League as he managed to find the back of the net just once in thirteen appearances.

8. THEO WALCOTT: SOUTHAMPTON –> ARSENAL – £9m

The pacey winger was roommates with Gareth Bale at Southampton, but Walcott chose the other side of North London as he made the big money to Arsenal in 2006. The then 16-year-old grabbed all the headlines when he was picked by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad for the 2006 World Cup after failing to make a single first-team appearance for the Gunners that season. Walcott didn’t feature at all in Germany and was later overlooked by Fabio Capello for the 2010 World Cup. The 23-year-old is now one of the important members of the Arsenal squad and is also an England regular.

7. CRISTIANO RONALDO: SPORTING LISBON –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £12m

Liverpool and Arsenal were both interested in the signing the Portuguese prodigy back in 2003, but eventually Manchester United brought him to Old Trafford after they played against his team in a pre-season friendly. It took sometime for the Portuguese to settle in England and get used to the Premier League, but once he got used to it he became the club’s star performer. The Portuguese international spent six seasons at Old Trafford making 292 appearances and scoring 118 goals. He helped the Red Devils win three Premier League, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup title before joining Real Madrid in 2009 for a whopping £80m. It was the best business ever done by Sir Alex Ferguson during his time with Manchester United.

6. ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: SOUTHAMPTON –> ARSENAL – £12m (RISING TO £15m)

Another talent from Southampton’s youth academy. Oxlade-Chamberlain made himself known to top teams in the Premier League by scoring 10 goals in the first full season at the St. Mary’s. Arsenal snapped him up last summer and he made his debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The 18-year-old became the youngest ever Englishman to score in the Champions League when he scored the opening goal against Olympiakos. The England under-21 international won the hearts of the Arsenal fans by some impressive displays in his debut season in the top flight and was also selected in England’s UEFA EURO 2012 squad.

5. ROMELU LUKAKU: ANDERLECHT –> CHELSEA – £13m (RISING TO £18m)

Lukaku was already a regular first team member of his club – Anderlecht and his country –  Belgium before Chelsea signed him up in the summer last year. The then 18-year-old strong centre forward was brought in as a potential replacement for Didier Drogba but he failed to get much playing time last season as he made just eight appearances for the Blues in the Premier League. Lukaku, who has a very good goal-scoring record in Belgium, is expected to go out on loan this season in order to get some first-team action and Fulham are said to be the favourites.

4. PHIL JONES: BLACKBURN –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £16.5m

The then 19-year-old had made just 35 first-team league appearances for Blackburn but that didn’t stop Ferguson activating his release clause and bringing him to Old Trafford. The versatile defender – who played as a right-back, a center-back and as a defensive midfielder – had a great first season with Manchester United, making a total of 41 appearances in all competitions and also found the back of the net twice. The 20-year-old’s impressive displays for the Red Devils earned him an England senior team call-up and was also picked up for the Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer by Roy Hodgson.

3. ANDERSON: FC PORTO –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £18m

It seems very unbelievable that the Brazilian costed United more than Ronaldo, but it’s true. Ferguson had to pay a whopping fee of  £18m to bring the young Brazilian, who was dubbed as the ‘next Ronaldinho’, to Old Trafford in 2007 when he was 19. Anderson has had something of a stop-start career at Old Trafford mostly troubled by injuries. The Brazilian international has won three Premier League titles, one League Cup and one Champions League title with the Red Devils during his five years at the club, but has been often linked with a move away from Manchester in the past couple of season. It look’s unlikely that United will be getting their money back if the Brazilian does leave in the near future.

2. MARIO BALOTELLI: INTER –> MANCHESTER CITY – £24m

Even though Balotelli signed for the reigning Premier League champions two days after his 20th birthday, he makes this list as the deal between the two clubs had been agreed when he was still in his teens. The Italian, who costed around £24m, has had a controversial time at the Eastlands both on and off the field. Super Mario has shown the maturity of a boy half his age and has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons’ in the past two years. But, whenever in mood, he has shown the world his true potential with some eye-catching displays for both City and Italy. He also played a vital role in helping Italy finish runners-up at this summer’s European Championship in Poland/Ukraine.

1. WAYNE ROONEY: EVERTON –> MANCHESTER UNITED – £27m

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Wayne Rooney for a staggering £27m in the summer of 2004, after he had starred for England at Euro 2004 in Portugal. Rooney, 18, when he joined United, already had two compete seasons under his belt in the Everton first-team and was one of most sought-after teenagers around. He announced himself to the United supporters with a hat-trick on debut and has become one of the key players for the Red Devils in the recent years. The 26-year-old England international has helped United win four Premier League titles, two League Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup in his eight years at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Manchester United had a decent last season as they finished second – just on goal difference – behind city rivals, Manchester City in the league but were very disappointing in both European – both the Champions League and Europa League – and the domestic cup competitions. 

This summer, United will look to strengthen their squad as they look to win back the Premier League title from their noisy neigbhours and also try and win the Champions League for the first time since the 2008. Sir Alex Ferguson has already strengthen his squad this summer by signing the Japanese international Shinji Kagawa and the highly-rated youngster Nick Powell, but the Red Devils will have to bring in some more new names if they want to challenge for trophies on all fronts. Here are Manchester United’s potential transfer targets the summer..

LEIGHTON BAINES – EVERTON (DEFENDER)

The Everton left-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for some time now and its highly likely that the England international will be a United player before the start of the season. Patrice Evra’s form dipped last term and the Frenchman is not getting any young. With Fabio away on loan at QPR, United need a new left-back and the 27-year-old would be a great choice. Baines, who is very good at set-pieces, is valued around £15m and would be a quality replacement for Evra.

MATS HUMMELS – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (DEFENDER)

The German defender had an outstanding Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer and was one of the best performers for his country. The former Bayern Munich youth player has been one of the reasons for Dortmund’s success in the past couple of years as they did the League and Cup double last year. The Turkish origin defender, who is rated around £30m, has stated he is very happy to stay at Dortmund having sign new contract recently, but he would be a great signing for the Red Devils and with Rio Ferdinand past his best, he would be a great replacement for the veteran.

ALEX WITSEL – BENFICA (MIDFIELDER)

Portuguese giants Benfica are ready to cash in on the Belgium international, just a year after they signed him from Standard Liege. The 23-year-old was instrumental in helping the Portuguese side make the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Manchester United are interested in signing the £20m rated midfielder as they look to add more depth and quality in their midfield. Chelsea are also interested in him and a chance to play alongside his Belgium teammates – Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – might just incline him towards Stamford Bridge.

LUKA MODRIC – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (MIDFIELDER)

Luka Modric is one name that has been on the Manchester United radar for some time now. With the playmaker ready to leave White Hart Lane this summer in search of regular Champions League football, Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to bring the £36m rated Croatian international to Old Trafford. But according to the reports in various papers in Spain, Modric has already agreed a deal with the La Liga champions Real Madrid and is expected to sign for Jose Mourinho’s side before July 15.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been a United target since his Sporting Lisbon days and is seen as an alternative for Luka Modric. Some reports claim that the Red Devils have already launched a bid for the Portuguese international, but they will have to battle with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham – who are also interested in him – to bring him to Old Trafford.

KEVIN STROOTMAN – PSV EINDHOVEN (MIDFIELDER)

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be interested in the the Dutch midfielder who has been dubbed as the ‘new Roy Keane’ because of his combative style of football. With the future of Darren Fletcher uncertain and with number of injury prone players in the squad, Strootman could be the answer to all of Ferguson’s problems. The PSV star has attracted a lot of interest because of his impressive performances over last couple of years and was also a part of the Dutch squad in Poland/Ukraine. The £15m rated Dutchman, who can also play as a holding midfielder, would no doubt strengthen the United midfield.

JAMES RODRIGUEZ – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

The young Colombian is another player linked with a move to Old Trafford many times in the last couple of months. The 21-year-old had an impressive last season in the Portuguese league with FC Porto and has attracted interested from a host of Premier League clubs. With the future of Nani doubtful, Rodriguez could be a great addition to squad but it looks highly unlike that United and Sir Alex Ferguson would be ready to pay around £30m for the midfielder who has been dubbed the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’.

LUCAS MOURA – SAO PAULO (MIDFIELDER)

Lucas Moura is one of the most talented youngsters and the most hottest property in world football. The 19-year-old Brazilian has attracted interested from almost every top club in Europe and Manchester United are said to be one of them. According to the latest gossip columns, United have sent a delegation to Brazil to convince the £35m rated Brazil international – who has already been capped 13 times by his country – and his family about a move to Old Trafford, where he will join his fellow compatriots – Anderson, Rafael and Fabio.

MOUSSA DEMBELE – FULHAM (MIDFIELDER)

Dembele has had a successful time, so far, at Craven Cottage since joining Fulham in 2010. The forward who scored 24 times for AZ Alkmaar, has adapted very well to a midfield role in the Fulham team and was very impressive in the previous season. Dembele has just a year left on his contract and is in no hurry to extend it because of interest from several big Premier League sides like United and Chelsea. Some papers reported that the Reds Devils had an offer for the Belgium international rejected by Fulham over the weekend.

IKER MUNIAIN – ATHLETIC BILBAO (STRIKER)

Iker Muniain is another teenager who is on the Manchester United shopping list. The 19-year-old Spaniard caught Ferguson’s eye after he played an important role in knocking the Red Devils out of the Europa League last season. The versatile striker, who can play upfront or on the wings or just behind the striker in the midfield, scored the winner in the first leg and impressed in the second leg in Spain. The Bilbao forward, who made his international debut this year, is rated around £25m and would no doubt be great signing for the team.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus and Manchester City, United are also interested in signing the Arsenal skipper – Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Michael Owen having already left and Dimitar Berbatov expected to leave, there is place for another striker in the squad and Van Persie will be an outstanding option. The Rooney-Van Persie combination up front will be just too deadly to deal with for any team. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be enough.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (STRIKER)

The Poland international, who scored the opening goal of the UEFA EURO 2012, is another Dortmund player to be linked with a move to United this summer. Lewandowski has had an incredible past 12 months and has scored 30 goals including a hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final. The striker has just two years left on his contract and has attracted interest from many Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.

5 Players Ferguson Must Get Rid Of In The Future

Manchester United are in with a massive shout of winning their 20th Premier League title, with arguably one of the poorest squads Sir Alex Ferguson has ever managed. With their city rivals, Manchester City able to buy any player of their will with the cash available, United are in desperate need of regeneration and it is like Ferguson will need to seel before he buys.

Here, Into The Top Croner lists five players who should be shown the door at Old Trafford.

1. Anderson

Dubbed as the next Ronaldinho upon his arrival from Porto in 2007, the Brazilian has seen his time at Old Trafford hampered by long-term injuries. The comparison to the Brazilian magician is a bit bizarre, considering Anderson’s far more combative nature in the centre of the park. Memories of a brilliant debut season that included a Premier League and Champions League double have long faded and while still only 23, Ferguson could do with recovering some of the £17m he spent on the midfielder.

2. Patrice Evra

Despite being a tremendous servant to the club since his arrival in 2006, this season there have been signs that age is catching up with him. The French full-back’s diminishing pace has been badly exposed by the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Lennon and with Fabio Da Silva waiting on the wings, it’s time Fergie game the young Brazilian a consistent run in the side and got a good fee for Evra while he still can.

3. Nani

Nani can be described in two words – incosistent and frustrating. Despite upping his game recently, the Portuguese winger still continues to blow hot and cold. It is not an easy task being compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, but Nani has been free of the £80m man’s shadow for some time and has yet to deliver anywhere near the lever United expect him, if they are to be up there with the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid. If the Red Devils are offered anything like the £30m price reported last summer, then they should surely take it.

4. Federico Macheda

Federico Macheda had a stunning impact on the 2008/09 title race with two successive late winner that ensured the Red Devils remained ahead of rivals Liverpool. However, since that glorious introduction, things have taken a downward spiral and after an unsuccessful loan spell at Sampdoria, Macheda is now strughling to get games on loan at QPR. A permanent move away from old Trafford would be best for both the parties.

5. Bebe

Bought for an astonishing £8m, despite moving between Portuguese sides Estrela and Vitoria de Guimaraes for free five weeks earlier, Ferguson claimed Bebe’s arrival was a “fairytale story” after his rise from obscurity. Fairytale in the sense that it was utterly fanciful to expect Bebe to come good.