When it was announced Ander Herrera was set to leave Manchester United at the end of last season, it seemed inconceivable that a midfield replacement wouldn’t be brought in.
But here we are, with just a day until the transfer window shuts and it seems that Ed Woodward’s transfer business is done.
Marouane Fellaini was also sold last January and not replaced; the lack of options in midfield for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is deeply conspicuous.
Despite what is being released into the press, surely the Norwegian is not convinced with his midfield options going into the new season.
In terms of senior options in midfield, United have been left with a want-away Paul Pogba, an inconsistent Fred, and a deteriorating Nemanja Matic.
The youngsters coming through can provide some solace, but should not have been relied upon to lift United back into the Champions League places.
Scott McTominay has shown great promise during pre-season and looks a different player from when he was first tested by Jose Mourinho. The 22-year-old is likely to be a regular starter this season, and will hopefully push on and be the commanding presence in midfield the Reds need.
Andreas Pereira is also another midfielder Solskjaer sees as part of his plans after signing a new contract this summer. In truth, the jury is still out on whether the Brazilian is good enough to start week in week out, despite some sporadic moments of encouragement towards the end of last campaign.
It’s hard not to help but feel the weakness in midfield is really going to endanger Solskjaer’s top four hopes this season. There’s no guarantee Pogba won’t get his move to Real Madrid with the Spanish window not closing until the end of August. Even if the Frenchman does stay, an injury could prove fatal as United simply struggle to compete in midfield without him.
Saturday’s friendly against AC Milan gave us a glimpse of life without Pogba; the lack of energy and dynamism in midfield is arduous.
However, its not as if there were a lack of available midfielders that could have been brought to Old Trafford this summer. Youri Tielemans, Adrian Rabiot, Bruno Fernandes, Tanguy Ndombele, and Abdoulaye Doucoure would all have improved the Reds in the centre of the park, yet were either not convinced to join, or not deemed good enough by United’s recruitment team.
It’s inexcusable that Solskjaer may go into the season without a midfield signing, an area that should have been prioritised just as much as the defence this summer.