This has been a problem area for Manchester United over the last couple of seasons.
In what feels like a theme every summer, the priority for Manchester United is to sign a defensive midfielder ahead of the new season. The Manchester United faithful have been calling for this signing for many years now, with the team badly needing a defensive shield to protect their defence in matches.
With Nemanja Matic’s departure, the club is now without its one true defensive midfielder. Fred and Scott McTominay, while serviceable, are box-to-box all-action midfielders being shoehorned into a defensive role.
Aurelien Tchouameni and Boubacar Kamara were linked with moves to Old Trafford, but have instead been snapped up by Real Madrid and Aston Villa respectively. Here are a few defensive midfielders the Red Devils can target as they embark on the Erik ten Hag era.
5. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
Tielemans is another player who is looking to make a switch this summer. The 25-year-old has only one year left in his Leicester contract. The Belgian midfielder has made it clear that he isn’t looking to sign any contract extension. He is capable of dictating the play from a deeper position, physically strong, tactically astute and isn’t shy to join in attacks. In his 158 appearances for the Foxes, the Belgian has picked up 24 goals and 24 assists.
4. Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Ruben Neves already has three years of Premier League experience under his belt. If rumours are to be believed, he is keen to experience life at another English club. He has been a key player for Wolves since his move from Portugal three years ago. The Portuguese midfielder possesses an excellent technical ability that can take Manchester United’s midfield to the next level.
3. Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Under Graham Potter, Brighton and Hove Albion have impressed with their style of play and how defensively strong they are. The star of the show over the past few seasons in their midfield has been Yves Bissouma. He is excellent on the ball and can break lines with his passing. He is also a good dribbler and physically strong. Bissouma has only one year left on his contract and it should not be difficult to sign him this summer.
2. Declan Rice (West Ham)
Declan Rice’s name is on most big clubs’ transfer lists for years now and has only moved higher with each passing year. He will be given the West Ham armband for the upcoming season. This comes after Mark Noble’s retirement. Rice is one of England’s best midfielders, a brilliant tackler, and at the age of just 22 he could slot into the midfield for years to come. But he could cost upwards of £100m and the red devils and Erik ten Hag may not be willing to spend such a substantial chunk of their transfer budget on just one player.
1. Ibrahim Sangaré (PSV)
Sangare could be the perfect fit for Manchester United as he would be joining Erik ten Hag straight out of the Eredivisie. The PSV defensive midfielder made a total of 49 appearances across all competitions this term and recorded four goals and four assists. Above all, the 24-year-old has only the release clause of €35m in his current contract. Finally, Sangare’s age combined with the price tag could end up being one of the best deals of the summer transfer window.