Manchester United won the Manchester derby by scripting a fantastic comeback after being 2-0 down at half time at Etihad stadium. The chief architects of this comeback were Pogba- United’s biggest transfer and Sanchez, who United bought in this winter transfer. Two quality transfers make one historic comeback.
What exactly are United missing since the Ferguson era? Which players can be brought in this summer to make United not just the second placed PL team but a team challenging to genuinely win the Premier League crown for the first time since the departure of SAF ?
Midfield of United has been lack lustre since the end of the 2012/13 season. Their players have lacked creativity, the defensive players were inconsistent and holding players could not contain opposition players. Top players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schniederlin, Fellani were brought in. While the first two couldn’t last more than 2 seasons while Fellani has been highly inconsistent and now looks set to leave on a free next season.
With Michael Carrick set to retire at the end of season, Fellani strongly linked to Turkish side Galatasaray and Herrera even though showing heart and passion while winning tackles, lacks technique and accuracy to flourish as a world class centre midfielder and might be on his way out this summer.
With that in mind here’s a look a few replacements that United can bring into their midfield :
A box-to-box midfielder, he can be the perfect CDM for United by winning tackles and making interceptions as well. He adds strength and the sorely needed steel to midfield and is also amply efficient and talented as an attacking player with his distribution and runs into the box.
His work rate in entire midfield is extremely commendable and he can prove to be an important player to change attack from defense with the distribution and work rate of a true world class center mid.
Pjanic is a deep playing play maker who can be considered on the lines of Pirlo due to his playing style. He is technically gifted, aware of his surroundings and can control the midfield and tempo of passing. Hence for me he can very well prove to be the perfect replacement to Carrick.
James Rodrigues/ Toni Kroos
While Pogba and Mata brings creativity, Mata lacks pace and strength, Pogba on the other hand possesses both the qualities but is inconsistent on too many occasions.
Players like James and Kroos are excellent creative players with pin point accuracy alongside consistency. Their sharpness and vision can be used with great effect by combining with United’s established attacking players like Lukaku, Rashford and Martial.
“Attacks wins you games, Defence wins you titles”- SAF.
During the Fergie era, United had the established centre-back duo of Ferdinand and Vidic the best in the league. While Smalling and Jones were initially set to take over the mantle, injury prone Jones and inconsistent Smalling means United are yet to establish a CB pair.
Eric Bailly was brought in last summer and Victor Lindelof this season, while Bailly is stong and consistent he is injury prone like Jones. Lindelof is yet to make himself a candidate to regularly start as United’s centre-back. Smalling-Jones, Jones-Rojo, Smalling-Bailly have all looked good in patches but haven’t found that much needed consistency yet.
United most probably would try to find their best pairing and would try to utilize their available players but given the nature of the game and boss Mourinho, the Red Devils may opt for players like Varane or Umtiti.
Here are a few players that United must look at during the summer if they genuinely want to challenge for the title :
Faouzi Ghoulam/ Ryan Bertrand
Both of these players occupy same position on-field viz left-back. While Shaw has been out of favour, Blind and Darmian have never got going under Mourinho. It is believed that all the three players may be off loaded this summer who can be ably replaced by Ghoulam and Bertrand.
While Ghoulam has been consistent with Serie A side Napoli who are currently challenging for the Seria A, Bertrand has shown real signs of development with Southampton and can get a nod in because of his experience in Premier League.
Both Ashley Young and Valencia play Right back for United and both will turn 33 by the start of next season. If Fosu-Mensah is yet again going to be loaned or even sold, United must opt for Fabinho who has been quite often linked to us in the past.
Fabinho has been the star for AS Monaco with his consistency. He is tall, has pace and usually solid in his position. If required, he can also play as a defensive midfielder.