Man Utd haven’t signed a solid central midfielder for a number of years and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must find a solution in the transfer market.
Manchester over the years have had problems with the mid-field selection. In recent years, apart from Micheal Carrick & Ander Herrera, no other player has made an impact on the game. Even during the Ferguson era, the Scottish has some hits and misses when it came to choosing his mid-field. United never really found a player who could replace Roy Keane or Paul Scholes.
Famous flops include Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba and, more recently, the disastrous pairing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin. But Fergie also had a strange habit of converting otherwise promising forward players (Alan Smith and David Bellion) into middling central midfielders. And then there was Juan Sebastian Veron, the world-class player who struggled at Old Trafford for reasons nobody could quite pinpoint.
It is arguable that players like Roy Keane and Scholes come only once in a generation. And perhaps it’s unfair to compare Fred to Djemba-Djemba, given the Brazilian still has a chance to turn his United fortunes around — even if patience is wearing thin.
So what must United do to solve their crisis?
Clear the Deadwood and solve the Pogba crisis
A lot of it depends on the January transfer window. United failed to replace Ander Herrera, a regular starter under Solkjaer and Mourinho. They need to replace Matic. And most importantly solve the Pogba issue. Manchester United, no matter how much display that they are in agreement with the Frenchman and his agent, they can’t hide the fact that he will leave next summer if his position crisis is not solved. In any case, selling Pogba could be the first step on the renewal of United’s midfield.
Pogba is not the most consistent player. He has had his good days at Old Trafford but they are outnumbered by the times he has underperformed. Scott Mctominay has been a very important player for the club. And they would hope he continues his development and form. Matic’s contract is up and he should be allowed to leave the club. But those mistakes are in the past and Ole insists he and Ed Woodward “have a plan”.
They need a controlling mid-fielder. Someone like Rakitic or Jorginho. However, the deal with Rakitic is another story (Real the article below for more details about that). They need to search for someone who can bring the fluidity in the mid-field like Carrick.
The second would be to buy a direct replacement, whether that be the forever-linked Bruno Fernandes, the seemingly declining Christian Eriksen or the up and coming James Maddison — or another attacking midfield target out of the left midfield, providing United’s scouts have done their work to find the right candidate. They need a defensive wand controlling mid-fielder. Wilfred Ndidi is one option they can go far. Or his teammate, Youri Tielemans. A true defensive midfield general.
A Sporting Director
Finally, clear the tension between the board and the players. Woodward was at pains to indicate how the club is jam-packed with people who are experts in their field. “There is a myth that we have non-football people making football decisions, and I think it’s insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club,” he said in his latest statement. “We’ve expanded our recruitment department in recent years and we believe this now runs in an efficient and productive way.”
United’s transfer signings in recent years suggest this expertise, while it exists, simply hasn’t come to fruition. There is no area more crucial than the midfield now and it’s where United’s staff have to prove capable of setting the rebuild wheels in motion.