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3 more realistic Man Utd targets than Ferdinand’s ‘shrewd’ pick

| 30.06.2014

‘Helpful’ former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand showcased his keen scouting skills when asked on Twitter which centre-half new Red Devils chief Louis van Gaal should target this summer.

With a nod to a potential future career unearthing raw talent, Ferdinand stuck his head on the block by suggesting Real Madrid and France’s brilliant 21-year-old Raphael Varane as the man Van Gaal must buy, before admitting that the Champions League holders won’t sell him.

Cheers Rio! Here’s three the deposed champions may actually stand a chance of landing.  

Mats Hummels

The 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund behemoth has indicated that he is unlikely to leave Germany this summer, but that hasn’t stopped new coach Van Gaal from courting Die Mannschaft’s number one centre-half.

However, Hummels has stopped short of ruling out a move away from the Westfalenstadion at some point, so could conceivably be persuaded to join the United rebuilding project if the Old Trafford powers that be show their intent with a mammoth bid.

Joachim Low’s side have kept two clean sheets in their three World Cup fixtures so far, with the 2-2 draw against Ghana coming when Hummels played through the pain of a thigh strain, and they’re 17/20 to shut-out Algeria in the last 16.

Oscar Duarte

Club Brugge regular Duarte’s World Cup could be over after the 25-year-old was dismissed for a second yellow card prior to victorious Costa Rica’s stunning penalty-shootout with Greece.

Ladbrokes.com price up his side as rank 11/4 outsiders to see their way past Holland in the next round, and their right-sided centre-half will be sorely missed.

The first Nicaragua-born player to appear at a World Cup – who put his adopted country ahead in the 3-1 Group D win against Uruguay – would be a useful addition to United’s depleted defensive ranks, and should be easy to prise away from the Inter Milan-lookalike Belgians.

Eliaquim Mangala

Manchester City are expected to set their sights on Porto’s France international now they’ve wrapped up a deal for club teammate Fernando, but Mangala is thought to favour a move to their more successful – if poorer – neighbours.

‘The Mangler’ is yet to rack-up a World Cup minute for France as yet, with Varane and Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho proving an impressive pairing and Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny deputising, but the 23-year-old is extremely well-regarded and would be a marked improvement on United and England disappointment Chris Smalling.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune