Editor’s Note: This is completely on the assumption that some International Roster Slots open up. Read up on the current International Roster Slot breakdown here.
Let’s play a game.
The game is called, “Let’s go to transfermarkt.com and read the expiring contracts in Europe.” From there, let’s find some Designated Players to sign for the team this summer. I will give you two players for each area of the field and why they should be signed.
Why not? What bigger name in the goalkeeping world is there than Iker? Casillas is not the stopper that he was in his heyday for Real Madrid and for Spain, but he is still competing at a high level. In 18 appearances for Porto so far this season, the 35-year-old has 11 clean sheets.
Yes, he likely will never start again for the Spanish National Team - he was second behind David De Gea at Euro 2016 - but he is still San Iker. I jokingly suggested Manuel Neuer for the team, but Iker is an actual possibility.
René Adler was supposed to be the next big thing. I remember sitting in my dorm room in 2010 hoping beyond a hope that one of my favorite clubs would ink the German stopper. I legitimately thought he would be a bigger name than Manuel Neuer, who I thought was a punk kid. I was wrong.
BUT, Adler is still a solid Keeper option. He comes with some baggage and a history of injuries, but he also comes with big league experience. Adler has nearly 100 appearances for Hamburg and over 100 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen.
Adler is vice-captain of Hamburg, though. It would be unlikely to see him walk.
*This is on the assumption that the team does not pick up the extension offer on their recent loan signing, John Alvbage. The loan is set to expire this summer.
Manchester City Fullbacks
There are three Manchester City fullbacks that are familiar names that are up for renewal this summer: Pablo Zabaleta, Gaël Clichy, and Bacary Sagna (pictured).
One of the biggest areas of the field that I worry about MNUFC’s depth is that along the backline. Specifically, I worry about the depth at left-back or right-back. Any of these three fullbacks would be a huge upgrade. The issue would be salaries. Each of these players would likely command a sizable salary. Would United be willing to spend to improve the fullback depth?
Kolo Touré is a player that I saw joining MLS a couple years ago. After his tenure at Liverpool, I thought for sure his next move would be following fellow Ivorian, Didier Drogba, to North America. Instead, the 35-year-old center-back chose to join Scottish giants, Celtic.
Touré is not the same player he was in the mid 2000s with Arsenal, but I believe he can have some effect in the MLS. I do not think he will be a game changing player (his play in the SPL shows that), but I think he could be a pretty good addition if he wants to finish his career stateside.
If you follow the trasfermarkt link, the first name that is expiring is Santi Cazorla. I do not think he will be coming, ever. So, he will not be considered.
This is actually a choice made out of necessity. I think that MNUFC has some solid depth pieces in the midfield, but I do believe that the Loons could use a true defensive midfielder.
Flamini is not necessarily the greatest defensive midfield choice in the world, but he would fill a need, and I believe a rotation of him, Schuller, and Saeid could be a great base in the Adrian Heath’s 4-2-3-1 formation. The biggest thing that Flamini brings to the table is experience. He has nearly 200 league appearances in the Premier League split between Arsenal and Crystal Palace, and he has had spells in the French Ligue 1 and the Italian Serie A.
Fun fact: Flamini is the co-founder of GF Biochemicals
Keisuke Honda to MLS is a rumor that appears all to often. He has not had a great time with Milan since joining the club. I think that of all the needs that MNUFC may have, an attacking midfielder should be low on the list, but Honda is someone to look at.
The Japanese playmaker could be a force in the MLS. He has the talent, and he likely will have a chip on his shoulder to prove that he can still compete at a high level at age 30. I think he would be more likely to join another club that is in need of some attackers (LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire, etc.) first, but he would be a good addition.
This is actually the lowest need. So, I will only give one suggestion.
“The Hunter” is getting long in the tooth. “The Hunter” probably never lived up to being the player that he had the potential to be. But, Huntelaar has a nose for goal. I think that between Ramirez, Danladi, and Huntelaar, the Loons could have an extremely formidable attack.
Again, I will say that I think that the MNUFC attack has a could feel to it. Besides Ramirez and Danladi, Femi, Ibarra, and Venegas form an extremely solid core. Add in a goalscorer like Huntelaar, and the team could be hard to stop.
These are just some quick suggestions that both can fill a need, and may help bring in the fans who recognize their names. In my honest opinion, MNUFC should look to add a young DP that is an up-and-coming player, but the players that have expiring contracts are not likely those.
Are there any expiring contracts that catch your eye? Join in the discussion below!