Manchester United have been in patchy form over the last few weeks. The Red Devils have won just two of their last 6 games across all competitions. A major contribution to the poor form is the lack of quality in midfield for Manchester United and the failure to sign any of their designated targets.
Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic remain Rangnick’s only options to deploy in the deeper positions. Paul Pogba has been utilised in recent weeks but is poised to leave the club on a free transfer. The Red Devils were linked to a host of players including Denis Zakaria in the winter window but failed to bring in new faces to Old Trafford. Given the recent outgoings and lack of incomings, it is naturally understandable that Punters around the world like bet365 2022 are shy on offering Manchester United any significant odds of challenging Manchester City this season or even finishing within the top three.
Here are four midfield players Manchester United should target in the upcoming transfer window to change all that next season:
1. Declan Rice
Declan Rice has captured the attention of several big clubs with impressive performances over the years at West Ham United. The 23-year-old largely plays in a double pivot alongside Thomas Soucek for David Moyes. Reports suggest that West Ham want £120 million for the Englishman. This is a valuation that only Manchester United could potentially be willing to meet.
However, according to The Independent (via Express), Rice himself would favour a move to Stamford Bridge. The report states that the Blues themselves are sceptical about the transfer and may not be willing to match the asking price.
Rice is a very complete midfielder. He is adept at carrying or passing the ball forward, resolute defensively and can also chip in with a handy goal or an assist. He would be a perfect fit in the middle of the park and immediately improve United’s structure. The huge transfer fee is the biggest downside of the deal.
A new permanent manager could lead to a squad upheaval this summer for United. A host of big names: Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial and Dean Henderson have all been linked with a move away from the club. Spending triple figures on a single player could mean that United will be left short-handed in other areas of the squad.
2. Amadou Haidara
The RB Leipzig midfielder was linked to United during the winter transfer window. Amadou Haidara is versatile, and can also function as a wide midfielder or a full-back. However, the pursuit of the Malian may not be all that straightforward. Speaking about why Haidara did not join United in January, RB Sporting Director Cristopher Vivell said:
“Amadou Haidara has been with us for a long time and he’s an important player. I don’t think he really wanted that, just to go somewhere else.”
Haidara himself has expressed his admiration for the Red Devils in the past, however. The 24-year-old told the Bild (via 90Min):
“Everyone had a favourite team as a kid. Mine was Manchester United. I was a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, I liked Paul Scholes, Patrice Evra, Edwin van der Sar, Anderson.”
United were willing to spend around £32 million on the Malian, a player Rangnick himself brought into Leipzig in 2019.
Haidara is not a specialist midfielder. He could be a very useful utility option due to his versatility. However, for the price range, Manchester United have better options available in the market to fill the DM role. Haidara’s profile is more similar to that of Fred than a complimentary profile.
3. Boubacar Kamara
One of the key midfield targets for Manchester United in the winter window. Boubacar Kamara is a free agent in June and has been attracting plenty of interest from other clubs as well. AS Roma, Aston Villa, Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich have all been linked with the 22-year-old.
Fabrizio Romano reported that United turned DOWN the chance to sign the Frenchman towards the tail-end of the transfer window. However, Kamara on the market still remains one of the hottest prospects. As a free agent, Manchester United face a low-risk, high-reward scenario.
The Marseille midfielder is a perfect fit for the defensive midfield role. He is tidy in possession and has great positional awareness to cover the space abandoned by players ahead of him. Kamara can function equally well in a double pivot, or as the lone holding midfielder. He can also play as a ball-winning midfielder in a more advanced role as well as a centre-back. His age and cost are also huge incentives to pursue a deal further.
4. Ruben Neves
A player with Premier League experience, Neves has a contract with Wolverhampton Wanderers until 2024. The Portuguese midfielder has been regularly linked with United and Arsenal in the past too. Wolves reportedly slapped a £40m price tag on their star midfielder. Neves has 3 goals and an assist for Wolves this season.
The 24-year-old has been a crucial part of Bruno Lage’s side, with over 1800 minutes under his belt. Neves, however, does not seem to have Rio Ferdinand’s stamp of approval. The legendary centre-back recently said he would not pick Neves or Tielemans for United due to their “lack of mobility”.
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Ruben Neves is a very good player on the ball. The Wolves midfielder would offer United an amazing option to initiate attacks from deeper areas. Defensively also, Neves does have the attributes to play in the pivot role with the players around him. United’s frontline barely press, which often overburdens the midfield and defensive lines. The 24-year-old has good game reading and awareness and is also an excellent 1v1 defender.
Who among these midfield targets should Manchester United sign in the summer? What is United’s ideal midfield set-up? Let us know in the comments.
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