Manchester United are tracking Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, according to the Metro. The Italian international has made 35 starts in all competitions this season, scoring eight goals and creating five others. It is believed Sir Alex Ferguson will bid up to £20m for the 27-year-old.
Marchisio will boost the Old Trafford club's central midfield options, with the cupboard rather bare in that section of the park. Veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, as excellent as they are, cannot last a full season without rotation and Darren Fletcher continues to struggle with his bowel condition. Brazilian midfielder Anderson has struggled to establish himself in the side and will likely move on in the summer; he has a £6m price tag on his services.
As a result, the Italian is likely to be offered a five-year contract worth £120,000 per week, an agreement the Bianconieri may find difficult to top and the player hard to ignore. Nevertheless, United do have their work cut out. Marchisio is contracted to Juventus till 2016 and the Serie A champions are well on their way to regaining their place among the elite of European football, with a big-money swoop for Real Madrid trio Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, according to talkSPORT.
Ferguson recently admitted he was not considering a large-scale revamp of his playing squad and was only planning for two additions. Nevertheless, the Scot does have considerable transfer funds at his disposal and with rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and even Arsenal reportedly planning an expensive summer, the Premier League champions may be pushed into spending themselves.
Chris Smalling on Season
Meanwhile, United centre-back Chris Smalling has admitted frustration at the lack of game time. The 23-year-old has made only 15 league appearances in an injury-riddled season.
"It's a bit of frustration because I didn't really get going until November and I had a few little niggling injuries, so I've not been out on the field as much as I would have liked. But the team success has been very good and I've been able to contribute something to that. Ultimately it's about the team and the club," he told the club's Web site.