Chelsea's move for £70m Miralem Pjanic should kick Man United into gear
The Bosnian midfielder would greatly add to either side.
In their heroic but ultimately futile Champions League clashes with Real Madrid, last season, Miralem Pjanic was pure class.
In the home and away legs, it was Pjanic that stood out in two star-studded midfields with displays of composure, passing ability and attacking nous. Operating at the highest level, Pjanic kept his Juventus side ticking and gave them a great chance of a remarkable comeback until an injury-time penalty saw Real through.
Juve have since lost veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, to PSG, but have secured the services of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, from Real.
While most Bianconeri players are rightly ecstatic about the Ronaldo switch, reports in Italy suggest Turin will not be big enough to accommodate all of their stars in next season's strongest XI. Juventus are thought to be paying Ronaldo £600,000 a week, too, so room may have to be made with regards to club's wage bill.
It should be no surprise, then, to see the likes of Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuaín and Pjanic all linked with moves away from 'The Old Lady'. Defender Alex Sandro looks set for PSG.
Dybala has been linked with Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp's side look to have spent most of their summer allocation [£167m has been splashed so far] while Higuaín has been shopped out across Europe. Chelsea are said to be interested but new boss Maurizio Sarri has identified midfield as a priority for the Blues.
Not long after his unveiling at Stamford Bridge, the former Napoli boss said:
"I spoke with the club and ideally I think that a pinch of quality is lacking in our centre-midfield for a certain type of play... I cannot change 20 players, I must adapt and then I will see if we change somethings in my game."
Sarri needs to convince the trio of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Willian [a £55m Barcelona target] that sticking around London, and the Premier League, is in their best interest. Bringing in a quality player like Pjanic [currently valued at £72m] may convince them Chelsea can challenge Manchester City next season.
Macedonian football agent Fali Ramadani, who played a key role in Sarri's switch to Chelsea, has recently taken over the job of negotiating Pjanic’s career. Ramadani and Pjanic were spotted in Milan on Wednesday but the player refused to answer questions from a local TV crew that captured their meeting.
Chelsea have already brought in Jorginho from Napoli and Pjanic would tick most of the boxes for that quality midfielder he seeks.
If the 28-year-old is on the market, though, Manchester United should seriously consider making a bid. Pjanic is exactly the type of player that could add to United's midfield and offer more in a centre trio than, say, Ander Herrera.
Teaming Pjanic up with Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba could give United an extremely talented midfield core with which to build around.
The transfer window closes on August 12 so the next few weeks should be very interesting.