Manchester United need a defensive midfielder. The fans know it and it seems the club knows it too with the MEN Sport understanding that a defensive midfielder is one of the top targets for the club next season.
There’s only one problem, however, their main target, Declan Rice from West Ham is being priced out of a move by his club wanting around £90 million for the player, so United are having to look at other options
In a post-Covid world where finances will nevertheless be tight and also one of United’s long term targets in Erling Haaland is becoming obtainable next summer for around £73 million, the club needs to find ways to save money to provide players in all the meaningful locaiongs they need.
However, what if I told you there are three players that fit the need that United have in the midfielder and then I also told you that all three of these players had expiring contracts and consequently either United could pick them up on a free move next summer, or better however, obtain their sets for a cut-price fee in January to help the team as soon as possible.
(This is obvious if they do not obtain new contracts with their current clubs)
So let’s go by the three players Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could consider, starting with:
Franck Kessie is the first player that could solve United’s issues in midfield. Fans will remember his dubiously ruled out goal against United in the Europa League last season, but he was also an important part of AC Milan’s midfield alongside Ismael Bennacer which saw AC come second in the league behind their rivals Inter Milan.
He is a very combative midfielder who is strong in the tackle and uses his high level of physicality to bully opponents off the ball, and his high work rate allows him to affect the game across the pitch.
in addition as this, you shouldn’t disregard his on-the-ball skill. Kessie was successful with 80% of his dribbles in the 2020/21 season showing how he can effectively beat the oppositions pressing.
He also had a pass accuracy of 84% in the opposition’s half of the field, showing how despite being a more defensive midfielder he could affect the game going forward in addition.
And just to put the icing on the cake, Kessie is a great penalty taker. He scored 11 penalties with a conversion rate of 85% in the 2020/22 season. So if Bruno Fernandes or Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t on the pitch, then you know who to give the identify-kick to.
Now we have a player from the team that won the Serie A title last season. Marcelo Brozovic has been a meaningful part of the Inter Milan midfield since he joined in 2015.
Brozovic is a different kind of midfielder than Kessie as his game is more around controlling the game from thorough and distributing the ball out to the rest of his midfielder.
He would allow Solskjaer to control the ball easier when the team is in possession and alleviate the effects of the opposition’s pressing football.
Last season he had a pass accuracy of 90% in the Serie A and also completed 4.8 long balls per game, showing how he can be adventurous with his passing.
If Paul Pogba was to leave, he would be the perfect thorough-lying playmaker to partner with a midfield destroyer in United’s double pivot.
And speaking of midfield destroyers, Denis Zakaria is also out of contract next summer and some of the top names in Europe are vying for his identifying characteristics, and United should be too.
The Swiss defensive midfielder came to the fore under Marco Rose and despite the manager’s departure, he is a vital part of the Borussia Monchengladbach midfield. So far this season, the 24-year-old has been deployed both as part of a two-man and three-man midfield.
With Solskjaer wanting a solo number six to play alongside Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, he would suit this role perfectly. He has registered 2.2 combined tackles and interceptions per 90 this season, however, Monchengladbach have mainly played teams where they have most of the possession.
He has also chipped in with two goals and an assist in the first five games.
Overall there is no guarantee that United go in for any of these players, but if they don’t go in for them it is likely that other teams in the Premier League will and miss out on one or more of three cut-price options who will upgrade the midfield thoroughly, seems like it would be poor judgement from the club.
Which midfielder would you like Manchester United to sign? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter to get involved in the discussion in the comment section below.
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