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Bosnian World Cup star is the midfielder Man Utd need

| 16.06.2014

If Manchester United fans had any lingering doubts about their latest managerial appointment they were surely cast aside by the Netherlands’ 5-1 thumping of reigning World Cup champions Spain. 

Louis van Gaal has been praised to the rafters after his 5-3-2 set up undid La Furia Roja and even though a lengthy Dutch stay at the tournament will delay his United arrival, Red Devils fans will be delighted to see him succeed.

The Oranje are now 9/1 to win their first World Cup this summer, with Robin van Persie 7/1 to be top scorer.

However, even if with Van Gaal in the dugout, the issues that need to be sorted in United’s team remain the same, with the most pressing being the need to sign a top-class central midfielder.

Van Gaal has apparently already passed up the chance to sign both Toni Kroos and Cesc Fabregas this summer, leading to some nerves amongst United fans that they will be left short once again.

Kevin Strootman is always going to be linked with any club Van Gaal is at given the Dutch manager’s very vocal admiration of him, but it is his Roma teammate Miralem Pjanic that United should be targeting this summer.

While Strootman is missing the World Cup through injury, Pjanic made an assured start to the competition even as Bosnia and Herzegovina lost to Argentina in Rio de Janeiro.

Playing a in deep central midfield role Pjanic’s passing was irresistible, with only Lionel Messi able to match the four chances he created on the night.

Pjanic also made four accurate crosses – at least double the amount managed by any other player on the pitch – and completed four take ons.

The 24-year-old registered six goals and six assists for Roma in Serie A last season and can play as an attacking midfielder or in the deeper role he assumed for Bosnia.

The World Cup debutants remain 4/5 second-favourites to qualify from Group F despite losing their opening game, with matches against Nigeria and Iran to come.

The bad news for United is that Pjanic signed a new contract at Roma in May, having had just one year left to run on his old deal.

However, if he continues his sparkling form at the World Cup Roma, who were unable to prevent the departure of Marquinhos, Erik Lamela and Dani Osvaldo last season, might be faced with offers for the Bosnian they find impossible to refuse.

Pjanic has previously been linked with a host of English clubs, but given their obvious need for a midfielder of his ilk, it is United who should be stepping up their interest in him this summer.

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

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Alex Fortune