With Manchester United's pursuit of Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas apparently heading for the buffers, David Moyes has two other possibilities as he tries to bring much-needed creativity to the United midfield.
But who would be a better fit: Everton's powerful Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini? Or the diminutive Croatian playmaker Luka Modric, a figure who has struggled to find his best form at Real Madrid?
Date of birth: November 22, 1987
Place of birth: Etterbeek, Beglium
Current club: Everton
Former clubs: Anderlecht, Mons, R Francs Borains, Sporting Charleroi, Standard Liege
Everton paid a club record fee of £12 million to sign the player in September in 2008 after interest from Tottenham and Aston Villa. Caught the eye of Everton after scoring 11 times in 84 appearances for Belgian champions Standard Liege. His contract expires in June 2015. United will be forced to pay over £20 million to sign Fellaini, but may decide is money worth spending.
What would he bring to Manchester United? Would bring an attacking threat from midfield, but United also have the option to play him as a roving forward. David Moyes will be in no doubt about what he can do. Fellaini's best role is perhaps as a dynamic box-to-box sort of player, and may well be a figure United could use to some effect. But he is not solely a powerhouse, and would bring creativity to matter.
What they say about him: "I've said all along I think Fellaini is a really good player in the Premier League. And he's young. He's only 23 now so you think what he could be like when he's 26 or 27. But we think he's already come on a lot. He's physically stronger, much more disciplined in the job he has to do in the team. He still has a tendency to run out of position but that can upset the opposition because of his size and you saw how good his feet are. I think he's a real good player. He's got a lot going for him" - Manchester United manager David Moyes discusses Fellaini back in 2011 during his days running Everton. The player is 25 now, a year off his predicted peak period.
Date of birth: September 9, 1985
Place of birth: Zadar, Yugoslavia
Current club: Real Madrid
Former clubs: Dinamo Zagreb, Zrinjski, Inter Zapresic, Tottenham Hotspur,
Has been a key figure for Croatia since breaking into the Dinamo Zagreb side at the age of 16. Helped his club win three straight league titles before Tottenham paid £16.5 million to recruit him after he had helped his country reach the last eight at Euro 2008. Recovered from a broken leg in 2009, but helped the club finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League the following season. Joined Real for £29 million and, at the age of 27, the Spanish side will surely be looking to recover such a figure if they are willing to do business.
What would he bring to Manchester United? Quick in possession and tracking back, he can open defences with a pass. Has great vision. And has an eye for goal as he proved with his winning strike against United in the last 16 of the Champions League last season. Said to struggle against physical sides, but his stature has hardly held him back so far. Carlo Ancelotti is a known admirer of the player, and may be reluctant to lose him to United without seeing what he can do in a white shirt.
What they say about him: "There are many things he has to learn to do as a team member, which some people ignore and some others know but pretend they do not. Let the kid alone, let him grow within the team little by little. He is a terrific player. I believe that the Bernabeu fans have already had a taste of what a great player he is, but now leave him alone." Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has praise for Modric during a tough first season in Spain.
Total overall points: Fellaini 58 out of 80 ---- Modric 61 out of 80
- Sports & Recreation
- Marouane Fellaini
- Manchester United
- Luka Modric
- David Moyes
- Real Madrid
- Standard Liege