Manchester United don't need Kevin Strootman or Mats Hummels, says Owen Hargeaves as the January transfer window nears

Louis van Gaal has more pressing concerns he needs to address, the former Manchester United midfielder tells The Independent

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Kevin Strootman and Mats Hummels, two players heavily linked with big-money moves to Manchester United, are not the type of players that are needed at Old Trafford according to their former midfielder Owen Hargreaves.

Despite a huge outlay over the summer that saw the arrivals of numerous high-profile names including Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, the club struggled at the start of the season and have looked particularly vulnerable at the back. The club are expected to back Louis van Gaal in the transfer market again, both next month and in the summer.

Whilst the club are on a run of six wins in a row, Hargreaves remains unconvinced by what he has seen in recent weeks and explained in an exclusive interview with The Independent that he feels those that the club have been linked with are not the answer.

Asked who Louis van Gaal should look to bring in, the former England international said: "I think they'll probably get another midfielder, it looks like they're trying to get Kevin Strootman. But that's not what they need. What they really need is a new Nemanja Vidic, a new Rio Ferdinand to compliment the others at the back.

"I don't think they need Mats Hummels, as good as a footballer as he is. I think he's one of the best passers at the back but I think they need a defender, one who can handle one-v-ones - like a Vincent Kompany. That's exactly what they need."

 

However, Hargreaves believes United will struggle to bring in the "physical, powerful defender" that is required at Old Trafford.

"All these teams want to sign centre-backs. But in my opinion they (modern defenders) try and play too much football - you think David Luiz and Mats Hummels. I just think United need a defender, an old school defender, like a Vidic or a Rio. They need a physical, powerful defender. Vincent Kompany is probably the only one in the world who combines the power that a centre-back needs with the little bit of flair and technique that not many have. They're a very rare breed, perhaps Thiago Silva and Mehdi Benatia - he's been brilliant since joining Bayern Munich. I think he would have been just the perfect addition to Manchester United's side."

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Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels

 

Hargreaves, who is a BT Sport football expert, continued: "They've got so many attacking players they can get exposed at times and they need someone who's going to be able to cope on his own. Hummels isn't the quickest player I've ever seen, if anything he's pretty slow, but he's a great football player and can initiate attacks from the back. But Hummels isn't what they need - they've got the likes of Michael Carrick and Daley Blind and they can give them the ball and they can control the game. The problem is there isn't many of them floating around."

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Kevin Strootman

Manchester United take on Aston Villa this weekend at Villa Park, a ground at which they haven't lost since 1995. If they pick up three points they'll extend their winning run to seven matches and with it close the gap on league leaders Chelsea (who don't play until Monday night) to just five points. However, despite suggestions the title isn't out of reach emanating from Wayne Rooney and Phil Neville among others in recent weeks, Hargreaves doesn't expect them to push all the way despite recent results.

"I think they'll be happy with Champions League football because I think the other teams in and around are struggling considerably, I mean Arsenal, Liverpool. I think they'll finish third. I think Chelsea will win the league and Manchester City will push them close. United will finish third and Arsenal probably fourth.

"I think it's great that they're winning games, that's the most important thing. But you've got to be a little bit concerned, Van Gaal and the fans, that you're not really, your winning but not playing great. I think when you play great and you're winning like Chelsea then everyone's happy. But I think they realise that they haven't been at their best. Michael Carrick coming back in has been the big difference for them. He's so experienced, one of those guys you can rely on."

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Owen Hargreaves

 

BT Sport 1 has live coverage of Manchester City v Crystal Palace on Saturday 20 December from 12 noon. Tune in to Matchday Live with Fletch & Sav from 10am for all the pre-match build up live from the Etihad Stadium.

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