Manchester United make enquiry about controversial Argentinian midfield genius

by Sam Peoples

Manchester United have enquired to Valencia about the possibility of signing Ever Banega whose contract is up in June 2015, according to reports.

David Moyes is a well known admirer of the player having almost signed him on loan for Everton in the summer of 2009.

It is believed that Valencia are willing to let him go for a fee in the region of £12.5 million which is a bargain for a player of his talent and it’s also being said he is demanding a move immediately after seemingly falling out of favour at the Mestalla this season.

On Friday, it was also reported by the very reliable Gianluca Di Marzio that Valencia offered AC Milan the chance to sign Banega so that suggests he is available and United could certainly afford his wages as he currently only earns €2.1 per year.

Since joining Valencia from Boca Juniors in January 2008, to say Banega’s time in Spain hasn’t always been smooth sailing would be an understatement.

Over the years, he’s managed to gain quite a reputation off the field for various incidents. When filling his Ferrari up at a petrol station, he forgot to put the handbrake on and it ran over his foot, breaking both his tibia and fibula. As well as that, he has been caught performing a sex act on himself live on the internet and numerous other misdemeanours including being caught drink driving, late night partying and turning up to training still intoxicated from the night before.

His first couple of seasons at Valencia on the field didn’t go to plan either. He featured only a dozen or so times in the second half of the 2007/08 season for Valencia and failed to make a positive impact and force his way into the starting line-up while on loan at Atletico Madrid the following season.

Banega is the all action type of midfielder which United are in real need of.

At one point, Valencia nearly reached the end of their tether with Banega and were even willing to cut their losses and sell him for half of what they paid for him less than two years previously. However, there weren’t any clubs willing to take on the Argentinian madman.

The season after his loan spell at Atletico is where his fortunes changed. He settled down and became an integral part of Valencia’s starting XI, earning high praise from managers such as Pep Guardiola who before a game in February 2012 described Banega as a “fantastic player” and that his side would “really have to concentrate in order to limit his effectiveness”.

However, a few days later saw the infamous accident with his car at the petrol station which ruled him out of action for six months. Once he made his return, it didn’t take him long to re-discover the form which made him one of La Liga’s biggest talents. All was going incredibly well for Banega, both off and on the field, as he had arguably his best ever season for Valencia in 2012/13.

Banega certainly has the quality to make the step up from Valencia to United, the question is whether he has the maturity, attitude and discipline to go with it.

Banega is a diminutive but tenacious midfielder who could bring control, creativity and grit to United’s midfield. He possesses an excellent range of passing, incredible vision, guile, dribbling ability, close control and battle like qualities which you would associate with a more defensive minded player whilst being a threat going forward. He is the all action type of midfielder which United are in real need of.

A change of scenery and a move to one of the biggest clubs in the world may well be what Banega needs to realise his full potential. He certainly has the quality to make the step up from Valencia to United, the question is whether he has the maturity, attitude and discipline to go with it.

We’re often told that it’s difficult to sign quality players in January but here is a brilliant example of somebody who despite being inconsistent when he’s featured for Valencia this season is experienced, relatively cheap, out of favour, available and looking to move.

For the rumoured price, it would be well worth the gamble to United and as far as January signings go, it could be up there with the best.

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