Manchester United must attempt to sign an attacking midfielder in January.
The lack of clear-cut chances being created by the Reds has to be a real worry, even just four games in to a long Premier League campaign.
There is an evident shortage of creative spark in the midfield, and if the issue wasn’t clear enough in the summer, then that it has already been magnified with just three goals scored in the last three games.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs someone in attacking midfield who has the proven ability to unlock deep-lying defences that United have so far struggled against in Crystal Palace and Southampton.
The midfield is the key weakness in the side; Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, for all their efforts, can’t be relied upon to supply the goals United need if top four ambitions are to remain realistic.
We’ve listed three proven creative midfielders the Reds could target in January.
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It’s likely Tottenham will be prepared to see their star midfielder in January as his contract expires next summer. The Reds were reportedly in for him in the summer window, but were concerned Real Madrid was his favoured destination.
But according to the Sun, Solskjaer remains keen on the player and the Reds are ready to revive their interest with a bid in January. Although a move for Eriksen seems a long shot, it is certainly one to keep an eye on as there’s no guarantees he’ll get his move to Spain, and United could be an interesting prospect given the financial package he would no doubt be offered.
At 27, Eriksen is at the peak of his powers and is established as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. The Danish international has contributed more than 10 assists in each of his last four seasons at Spurs, and is the type of player United are crying out for to run the midfield. Eriksen is a specialist set-piece taker, has a fantastic eye for a pass and would be a relatively low-risk signing if the Reds could somehow pull it off.
This is a player Solskjaer may have more chance of signing next summer, but he should definitely targeted for a January move. The 22-year-old has been a revelation in the Premier League since joining Leicester City from Norwich. Maddison scored seven times and contributed seven assists in the last campaign, and is one of the most exciting young talents England have to offer.
Like Eriksen, Maddison is a fantastic free-kick taker, but his strengths also lie in finding space in between the midfield and back four, and looking to feed through his attackers. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are not getting the service they deserve up front and Maddison could be the man to provide them with opportunities through on goal.
However, as Leicester are in such a strong financial position, they have no reason to sell so Maddison would have to force a move to Old Trafford, which seems unlikely at this stage.
Anyhow, Maddison is a player the Reds should be prioritising in the long-term and fits perfectly into the recruitment plan of young, exciting British talent.
Most United fans will be sick of hearing the Sporting Lisbon midfielder’s name after weeks of reports surrounding his future this summer. It seemed probable Fernandes would join Solskjaer at Old Trafford, simply because of how much sense the move made.
The 25-year-old scored 32 goals in all competitions for Sporting last season, and would have been ideal in the number 10 role for the Reds.
Despite all the rumours, United never appeared to have concrete interest in Fernandes, despite his tremendous record of goal contributions in Portugal. Surely he’s worth a punt in January and would be more effective than the likes of Lingard and Pereira in attacking midfield?