Glory Glory Manchester United a slogan synonymous with United’s Alex Ferguson days but not with the post Fergie era. Heartbreak in the Europa League final, runners-up in the Premier League, and a semi-final exit from the FA Cup, United once again have had a shambolic outing.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 23, 2021
And once again the Red Devils are ready to splash some money in the upcoming transfer window. Jadon Sancho, a dream rather than reality and Premier League’s Golden Boot winner Harry Kane are both on United’s radar.
Delighted to win these awards! Not possible without the team and staff throughout the season. 💙 pic.twitter.com/12kfT4LOfL
— Harry Kane (@HKane) May 23, 2021
Though both Sancho and Kane can destroy any outfit on their day, the Theatre needs other protagonists to fulfil United’s dreams. While these signings would make the Red Devils look invincible, Soskjaer might once again become ignorant to the real problems.
The requirement of a defensive-midfielder should be United’s top priority. Nemanja Matic’s glory days are gone and Fred and Mctominay have had a hot and cold season.
THE PROBLEMS AT THEATRE
A squad full of match winners and, Manchester United’s trophy cabinet didn’t have any additions this campaign. A victory against neighbours and eventual PL winners City was celebrated ecstatically. But Solskjaer would sooner or later need the perfect candidate to fill in the role of a defensive midfielder.
Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Old Trafford made the Red Devils a reckoning force. The Portuguese outshone other midfielders in the Premier League and was awarded United’s Player of the Year.
OFFICIAL: Bruno Fernandes has won the Manchester United Player of the Year award. 🥇 pic.twitter.com/4OGVykftWu
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) May 18, 2021
But Fernandes was called to Old Trafford to score some glorious goals rather than defend their rivals for most parts of the game.
Paul Pogba might seem like an interim choice but the Frenchman possesses an attacking mindset and is usually seen making those steamy runs. Fred and Scott Mctominay are the only defensive midfielders on United’s roster but neither of them is trustworthy.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 20, 2017
United undoubtedly contain great attacking strengths but seem vulnerable while defending. And a defensive midfielder could fill in the gap for Solskjaer. Nemanja Matic has lost the sharpness he had at Chelsea and he’s nothing less than a benchwarmer.
A strong towering Red Devils’ defence looks weak on the counter and sometimes they concede unnecessary goals. Other than Maguire, Solskjaer has played kept shuffling with all his other centre-backs. But the stability in midfield could help United have a towering defensive partnership.
And rumours around Sancho’s arrival have once again been ignited as United have started knocking on Dortmund’s door. And Kane’s willingness to leave Tottenham has made the Manchester neighbours pursue the Englishman with full throttle.
— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) May 14, 2021
But Sancho’s and Kane’s entrance at the Theatre would once again make the Red Devils too dependent on their attack. Whereas instead of spending big bucks on the two Englishmen if United dig-deep to scout a defensive midfielder, Solskjaer’s managerial CV might have some trophies under his name.
United don’t have to look too far for inspiration. Manchester has been blue since Pep’s arrival at City and defensive-midfielders have played a big part in City’s success. Be it Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, or Rodri all of them have anchored the game providing them much-needed solidity.
The role of any midfielder is to provide the link-up between attack and defence and if United have to invest they should do so in someone like Declan Rice.
Another fantastic season in City colours!
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 11, 2021
The Red Devils seem to forget how to play sometimes when they face a weaker team. An embarrassing defeat against the Blades at home or unwanted draws against Leeds is something the Red Devils need to avoid.
Portuguese magician Fernandes could finally show some tricks in the opposition’s half without the worry of falling back every time. Paul Pogba and Scott Mctominay could also play with freedom and deliver perfect balls to their rushing attackers.
A defensive midfielder in biological terms is like Mitochondria, a powerhouse of the cell. Running every minute, defending when put under pressure, and initiating counter-attacks.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea were just crowned Champions of Europe a few days back. And a man who kept the team together was N’Golo Kante, the King of Stamford Bridge. Man of the Match performances in the final and semi-finals as he helped the Blues cruise to glory.
And if United have to lift silverware they need to attract a few defensive midfielders to Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows the Red Devils have never lacked the attacking flair required but without a player who could be nicknamed United’s fulcrum, Old Trafford might be trophyless for a long time.
THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR UNITED
For any player, it’s a moment of pride to don the prestigious Red jersey and play at Old Trafford. And for United, they only have a handful of options to choose from.
Declan Rice could be the frontrunner for the Red Devils. Gareth Southgate’s and David Moyes’ head honcho, Rice is a world-class footballer.
STRAIGHT VIBES🕺🏼 LET’S GOOOOOO😍😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/lUWsyqbGaS
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) May 23, 2021
Bringing in Rice could inspire the players around him with his extraordinary capabilities just like what Bruno Fernandes did upon his arrival. Though West Ham might take a peek into United’s pocket, the Red Devils should get Rice to their incredible roster.
Leicester City’s dark horse Wilfried Ndidi could play a crucial role in the Red army. With his strong defensive tackles and passing skills, Ndidi provides the balance required.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) January 3, 2021
Worth-mentioning is the fact that Ndidi has the pace and could make those steaming runs if United are looking to hit on the counter-attack.
Another midfielder United would like to add to their ranks is Uruguayan Rodrigo Bentancur.
A shining star in Juventus’ season full of clouds, Bentancur could become a household name in Manchester. A strong customer in the air as well as on the ground, Bentnacur has a vision like no other player and could boost United’s roster.