Dissecting Manchester United's midfield options this summer
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
With The Red Devils in hot pursuit of a new defensive midfielder, we take a look at the best options for them to go forward with...
The summer transfer window is a pivotal one for Manchester United, who instilled some hopes into their fans' hearts when they ended the season on a high note by winning the Europa League. The Red Devils will have to capitalise on their Champions League qualification BY buyING some players to fill the void in their starting XI as well as bolster the squad for the coming season.
There's a real crisis in the midfield for the Red Devils, who can only rely on Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera to produce the goods for them. Marouane Fellaini is just not good enough and Michael Carrick not getting any younger, United need to sign a solid defensive midfielder who can not only help the defence and fill the gaps in midfield but also allow Pogba and Herrera to play more freely.
The Red Devils have been linked to numerous midfielders during the summer, but there are some particular ones who are on Jose Mourinho's radar. So let's have a look at the defensive midfield options which United are pursuing heavily to solve their problem at the centre of the park.
Tottenham Hotspur were one of the most exciting teams in European football last season and while everyone heaps praise on the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen for their attacking masterclass, Eric Dier was always there to see through the defensive work of the team. Dier had a stunning season for Spurs as he started almost every Premier League game for them, being a rock in midfield for them. Dier oversaw the control of midfield as Spurs' defensive midfielder, distributing play swiftly and also bringing a sense of calm to the team.
Dier was a star in Spurs' midfield last season
Dier is the exact kind of player United are craving for right now to hold their midfield together, as his impressive defensive stats and ability to blend in between the centre-backs makes him a precious player. He's tough to dominate as his physical attributes are superb with the Spurs midfielder having an impressive 73% tackle success rate and winning 140 duels along with 73 aerial battles as well. Dier is the complete package in midfield who is perfect for taking some pressure off the likes of Pogba and the other attacking midfielders, as he can relieve them from their defensive work and enable United to play some sleek, destructive football like Spurs did last time out.
Nemanja Matic has been the foundation of Chelsea's solid defence ever since he returned to the club a few years ago and he's still regarded as one of the best midfielders in the league after having a stunning season with Chelsea. Matic was once again at the core of Chelsea's success in the middle of the park and while everyone lauds praises on N'Golo Kante, Matic actually helped Kante play a free role and roam around hounding for balls. The Serbian was dominant in midfield, spraying balls out wide and also helping the 3-man defence of Antonio Conte by giving them cover.
Mourinho is very keen on bringing Matic to United this summer with Chelsea targeting Monaco's Tiemoue Bakayoko and this deal could be a possibility. Matic would be a perfect fit in United's midfield because of how he loves to sit back and spray passes to the attack and also help the midfield by destroying any sniff of an attack by the opposition. His statistics do all the talking for him, as Matic made an amazing 1865 passes in the Premier League last season and also had some stunning defensive stats with 50 interceptions and 241 recoveries of the ball! The Serbian's physical aspect will add to United's strength and their midfield could be turned into an indestructible one if they can pull off this coup in the summer.
Radja Nainggolan has been the engine of AS Roma for many years now and he was at his menacing best last season for the Roma side which had an impressive outing in the Italian Serie A. Nainggolan is an absolute warrior on the pitch and does not back down from a fight, literally battling his way through to winning the ball and trying to create or score goals for his team. The Belgian international can play anywhere in midfield and would be an asset for Manchester United if they manage to sign him.
Nainggolan is the warrior who can lead United to glory
Nainggolan's partnership with Pogba can be absolutely destructive as both will compliment each other because of their similar skills and while Pogba can display flair, Naingolan can be the destroyer in midfield for the Red Devils. Not only did Nainggolan score an impressive 11 goals last season for Roma, but his passing accuracy was phenomenal and 63 key passes in the Serie A shows how good he is creatively as well. Nainggolan also had one of the best defensive records for a midfielder in Serie A last season, making numerous important interceptions, tackles and blocks as he's always there to help out his defenders. His hard-hitting style can be put to great use by Mourinho, who will look to make his midfield impenetrable by signing Nainggolan and take United to great heights with his sheer determination and passion for winning football matches.
Published: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:50 AM IST