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Sven Bender: German Midfielder Is Ideal Fit for Manchester United

DORTMUND, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Robin van Persie (R) of Arsenal is tackled by Sven Bender of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal FC at Signal Iduna Park on September 13, 2011 in Dortmund, Germany.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2013

Despite sitting seven points atop the Premier League table, Manchester United could use some reinforcements this January.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender is the perfect midfielder to solve the Red Devils' woes in the center of the pitch.

Lee Bryan of the Daily Mail is reporting that Manchester United are interested in tabling a £15 million bid for Bender.

Now the Mail isn't the most reliable of sources, but that doesn't change the fact that Bender is exactly what United need.

As pointed out in the comments below, Bender has in fact signed a new contract with Dortmund until 2017 (via FIFA.com). That shouldn't stop Sir Alex Ferguson from showing up to the Westfalenstadion with a wheelbarrow full of euros.

The idea of a midfield destroyer is getting a bit outdated, but the Red Devils need a midfielder who can get in the tackle a little bit.

Although Robin van Persie continues to become increasingly important all by himself, United have enough options in the attack to win the Premier League and remain competitive in Europe.

The back four has been an issue at times. However, with the return of Nemanja Vidic to full fitness, the quality of the defense as a whole will improve.

The club has never really found a replacement for Roy Keane and the way he could anchor a midfield.

United have played Phil Jones all across the defensive end of the pitch, and he doesn't look like a natural defensive midfielder.

Michael Carrick also hasn't been the kind of player the club needs.

Kevin Strootman was a name thrown out in the Mail article, and he's been a name linked to the club in the past as well (via the Daily Mirror). Strootman will be a huge name in Europe in a few years.

However, he's only really a pass-master. He sits in the center of midfield and distributes the ball, connecting the back four to the attack.

Strootman can deliver in a killer ball, but he can't offer much in the way of defending.

Matt Law of the Mirror has reported that United are also interested in bring Luka Modric back to the Premier League.

That rumor seems much more far-fetched. No matter the fact Modric has only made eight starts at Real Madrid, he's only been there six months. Neither the club nor player will likely be willing to give up on each other so fast.

In addition, much of what was said about Strootman applies to Modric. The Croatian is a much better footballer right now. But he's also 27 years old, so he doesn't offer the kind of longevity that Bender and Strootman would.

Quite frankly, United have looked incredibly soft in the midfield at times. That's why a ball-winner is so necessary.

Liverpool were running United ragged in their meeting back in September. Jonjo Shelvey getting sent off is what tipped the scales in favor of the Red Devils. It was much the same case last year, with the Reds dominating midfield but failing to turn that into goals.

The midfield as constituted might very well be enough to win United the Premier League. The Red Devils have had plenty of issues so far, so it's very telling that they have such a commanding lead a little over halfway through the season.

On the other hand, if Manchester United want to succeed in the Champions League, the club needs to improve; otherwise, United will continue to get outplayed by the best in Europe.

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