Improving the midfield was one of Erik ten Hag’s main priorities last summer and it was paramount that Manchester United got their recruitment right as the Dutchman became the latest man tasked with turning the club’s fortunes around.
Two thirds into his first season in charge, it can be said that he absolutely signed the right players and that has had a snowball effect on players inherited from previous regimes.
Casemiro, the five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, has made a sizeable difference on and off the pitch. Casemiro’s decision to leave the Champions League holders to sign for United, who had then lost their opening two games of the season, was criticised.
As it turns out, it was hardly for financial reasons and he now finds himself at the centre of a very exciting project at Old Trafford. After almost a decade as a regular for Real Madrid, the 31-year-old has compared La Liga to the Premier League, admitting games are more difficult in England.
“Well, honestly, it’s different,” Casemiro is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website when asked about the differences between the two leagues.
“Especially because of the different circumstances, like the intensity of the games here.
”I’m not trying to underestimate La Liga, but the games here are much more difficult, there’s a higher number of transitions. In Spain, they usually prefer tiki-taka football as they call it there. Here there are more transitions, more attacking moves.
”Each league has its own qualities and traits. I know each has its own traits and I respect both [leagues]. But the most important thing is for players to adapt as quickly as possible.”
The age-old question of which European league is the best will go on for many years and we’ll never get a definite answer as, ultimately, it is down to opinion. But Casemiro’s thinking is seemingly shared by many players to have made the switch in the past.
Regardless, the Old Trafford faithful will be happy he decided to put an end to his long stay in the Spanish capital and at this rate, he is growing into an iconic figure in the club’s modern history.