With the transfer window still open and Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho already signed, the attention is turning to who else could come in before the window shuts.
All the talk now is that the club must sell to buy and then a midfielder may come in, so if United do move on a couple of players what kind of midfielder do United go for?
United’s problem is that they need a defensive midfielder and with Nemanja Matic getting on in and Scott McTominay is a very promising player, but he is more of an all-round midfielder. Fred is a good player but would probably need to be upgraded if the club is to challenge on all fronts.
Solskjaer has solved two of the biggest problems in his first eleven with Sancho in on the right wing and one of the best defenders in world in Varane in to partner Harry Maguire. So now onto how to make his midfield better and more functional.
Fred and McTominay played the majority of games last season as a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 favoured by Solskjaer, but the duo is basically two players doing the same job in trying to protect the back four whereas if a player was brought in with the right attributes, then the midfield would function better and thus the team would.
The big question is who is that player going to be? Eduardo Camavinga and Saul Niguez from Rennes and Atletico Madrid respectively have been linked but this seems more speculative, and noises made by agents than anything concrete.
Ruben Neves is a name that is consistently linked from Wolves and most fans will throw in Yves Bissouma’s name from Brighton as their midfielder of choice. Solskjaer will have to first decide what he wants his team to do and then based on that find out the type of midfielder he wants with the right attributes.
Declan Rice is a name always linked to United but the price tag of upwards of £60m has put off any potential suitors. I do feel that any move for him won’t happen as West Ham will price him out of a move. He may end up in a something I call the Wilfred Zaha Paradox in which no club will pay enough or more to match his value to his club.
If tackles, ball recoveries, interceptions are the attributes Solskjaer wants a midfielder to have to simply shield his back four and his job would be to win possession back and give the ball to our creative players further up the pitch.
Bissouma would be a great option if that kind of player is what you want or an alternative if you want a more physical player then maybe Sander Berge from Sheffield United could be alternative if a more physical presence is needed.
Alternatively, if you want a player who is more of a passer in midfielder, not winning the ball back as much in tackles necessarily but with interceptions then step forward Ruben Neves. If you go back to the summer of 2006 and Roy Keane had left a few months previously so Sir Alex Ferguson needed a new midfielder.
Chelsea were the dominant team at the time under Jose Mourinho with a midfield of Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Michael Essien so Ferguson needed to adapt to combat this threat and he went for a tall midfielder who could pass and screen the defensive without being a tough tackler like Keane or Makelele so he bought Michael Carrick and the rest is history.
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Neves’ range of passing would really be an asset to this team, his short-range passing is very good, but his long-range passing could help United quicken up the tempo, break down low blocks and break the lines. United have struggled with this over the last few seasons as build up is too slow and allows teams to utilise a low block to frustrate United.
Personally, I would go for Neves as with Varane now signed and Dean Henderson tipped to be number 1 Goalkeeper this season it will mean United will play higher up the field with Varane’s pace and Henderson’s high starting position. United will have more of the ball so having a good ball player would make sense rather than someone whose job it is to solely win the ball back.
Manchester United do need a midfielder to take their game to the next level and evolve to a team who can challenge for the title then I do believe a midfielder is a necessity but what kind of midfielder will come in is up to Ole Gunner Solskjaer and Manchester United.