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07 Feb 2019 10:12:57
So the clear and obvious issue with our side is our defence, everyone knows it, its no secret or surprise when we let in a silly goal.

Yet there is potentially an even bigger issue within our squad, one that is never talked about or even appears on most peoples radar by the looks of it. I am talking about midfield. Why is no one seemingly concerned about our midfield?

Let me break it down. We currently have 6 first team midfielders on our books, with only James Garner in the youth system who has a genuine chance of breaking through to the first team, and he is only 17 so is unlikely to do so any time soon.

So who are the 6 first team midfielders? Pogba, Matic, Herrera, Fred, McTominay and Andreas Pereira. On the face of it not a bad selection.

However, Pogba his agent and our club have been looking to move him on for nearly a year now. So there is a serious question of whether he has a long term future in our side. Matic on form is immense, yet he doesn't have the fitness to stay on form all season, often fading when the games start coming thick and fast and in that vital "squeaky bum" time of the season. Herrera has been probably our most important player under Ole's revival, yet come July he is out of contract. Fred has struggled to adapt to the pace of the league, he may well yet adapt like Vidic or Lindelof, or he might never adapt like Veron or Kleberson. That leaves McTominay who works hard but probably lacks the talent to make it at the highest level, and Andreas Pereira who bar the odd 10 minutes has yet to convince in a Untied shirt.

So if Pogba moves on in the summer and Herrera isn't tied down to a new contract we could be looking at starting next season with 4 midfielders, an unfit and declining Matic being the best of them, a yet to adapt Fred and two youngsters who probably don't have the ability to compete at the highest level.

Compare that to a defence of Dalot, Lindelof, Tuanzebe and Shaw then suddenly our midfield looks more of an issue than our talented albeit inexperienced defence.

This is why I feel we need to sign two midfielders in the summer, someone to rotate with Matic in the holding role and someone to compete and add quality in depth in the box to box role.

One of Declan Rice, Reben Neves or Julian Weigl for the holding role might be good, with one of Tanguy NDombele, Lorenzo Pellegrini or Houssem Aouar.

Agree15 Disagree2

07 Feb 2019 10:55:09
I personally do not think Pogba would seek a move if Ole is appointed as the permanent manager. Ole is playing to Pogba's strength and the whole team is benefitting from it.

Herrrea will hopefully renew his contract this summer. However, it is the backup options which is a concern. There is literally no quality competition for Pogba as well as Matic.

Ideally we need 6 good midfielders. Pogba, Herrera, Matic, Fred, Garner and a new signing (Ruben Neves would be my choice) .
Fred will probably settle after a good pre-season.
Good competition is needed to bring the best out of everybody.

07 Feb 2019 11:14:02
I don't think neves has the neccesary defensive ability to play the holding role, at wolves he plays with the security of a back three. I certainly do think he can play in herreras role with matic in behind him as would excel there next to pogba.

On our midfield issues, its pretty clear that herrera will sign a new deal, him and young are rumoured to be close to extending.

Also with mourinho gone, coupled with madrid and Barcelona having interests or having signed other targets, that leaves pogba with little wiggle room to get a transfer which would be a step up from united.

So matic, herrera, new cm (lets say neves) and pogba seems a pretty good first choice midfield. Also i am sure fred will get a second season to prove himself so that leaves 5 midfielders. Not much to worry about in my opinion.

07 Feb 2019 11:35:12
Shappy I've been posting about the lack of quality in midfield for 18 months mate.
People will have you try to believe we have a strong squad. We currently and for some time have had an awful midfield selection behind our 3 starters.

07 Feb 2019 12:02:40
Shaps. You must have missed all those posts 😂

We have a serious issue in midfield.

I'd like to see rice in there. Huge potential, could be a great player.

07 Feb 2019 12:35:06
Angel, There is a lot of love for Declan Rice at the moment. Not sure why so many United fans would want to see a hard tackling Irishman in the heart of our midfield.

07 Feb 2019 13:01:28
I think its a lot to do in one window or even in one season. A world class centre back, a right back, one or two midfielders and a wide forward would cost a fair bit. I wouldn't expect too much in. the summer. We need to trim the wage bill yet we're extending the contracts of players like Smalling, Jones and Young. Is it for the nationality quota or is it because we can wring another season for them and delay things a bit longer.

07 Feb 2019 13:10:00
Shappy, I mentioned the Pogba enigma yesterday in a post. I really think its a flip of a coin moment as to wether he stays or goes in the summer. Matic hasn't too many more transfer windows to go and herrera is not signed and sealed yet either. The one problem I have noticed is that there are not a lot of young, affordable dm/ cm in european football right now. the top ones are mostly hitting 30 and would command huge fees and wages for probably cameo roles . Rice is a favourite of mine as is Neves and they could be the solution or part but I reckon the prices would be astronomical. Couple of others that are EPL proven Ndidi and Doucoure- workers on the pitch very Herrerra like.

07 Feb 2019 14:12:12
I think it depends on what formation/ tactics we use under the new manager whoever that is. But if they stick to a 433 type formation that Ole has used then we will need 6 midfielders for rotation.

TrueRedDevil, I don't think Garner is ready to be relied on, he is only just turned 17. He is a season or two away at least from getting regular game time in the first team. The only reason he has had a few appearances on the bench is because of the lack of coverage.

DSG, Neves might not be the most defensive midfielder, jet he is far more creative with the ball than Matic. A United side should be expected to have more of the ball and defend less so I wouldn't see it as a problem. For me Neves is very similar to Carrick. We didn't really ever have a problem with Carrick in midfield.

Ken, I think we have a very good first 11 maybe even 14 or 15. The rest of the squad is sub-standard. At least to challenge on multiple fronts throughout a season.

We need better players to rotate and challenge our first team to keep their performance up and to avoid a drop off in quality when rotating.

07 Feb 2019 13:58:24
We will sign herrera up, and add 1 more cm in the summer imo . Fred will of had a year under his belt, then you have a new signing pogba matic as well as a younger player .
No big issues in cm for me.

07 Feb 2019 15:01:16
There have been quite a few posts about our mf. I always commented about J. Weigl, if we are to look outside England, he is worth detailed scouting.

07 Feb 2019 15:08:58
Shappy - I think Ole will try to promote atleast 2 players to first team if he gets the permanent job.
Garner, Greenwood, Chong and Gomez are the stand out players in our academy.
I feel Garner can be eased into as a squad player as a 5th or 6th choice.

07 Feb 2019 15:43:25
Jred, if Herrera signs a new deal. If Pogba doesn't quit? If Fred kicks on. If we sign another midfielder.

Your scenario requires us to sign a player and for two more to commit to the club while a third kicks on.

That's a lot of ifs buts and maybes.

I've said the club needs to sign at least one more midfielder, likely two. The difference between my scenario and yours is you need three things to happen for your to play out fine, my scenario only needs one of those three things to happen and suddenly we are light.

Your also assuming that Matic will not decline next season, which is a gamble in itself given his age and his history of struggling with stamina over a 50 game season.

07 Feb 2019 16:17:57
I think we missed a trick with Ramsey.

07 Feb 2019 17:39:54
I'd go all out for Declan a Rice although I can see City beating us to him as a future replacement for Fernandinho.

07 Feb 2019 20:26:52
Only 1 person just can't bring himself to say that we have a poor selection of midfielders as a squad.
We play a system that requires us to play 3 in midfield
Fred is adjusting and needs time some said all season they see nothing in him but now suddenly he is a great hope for next season.
We have no natural successor or like for like rotation option for matic
Herrera is a good player but can't play 50 games a season he struggles when played 5 in a row due to his style.
So apart from our 3 starters matic herrera and pogba backed up by fred we have no proper midfield options for a club like united that's a glaring deficiency in the squad and its ok to say that. i'm sure it will be addressed.
Periera not up to the job
Mctom looks a bit short to me needs a season on loan
Fellaini we are better off without
Fred i think has potential
We need 2 ideally imo a matic replacement/ cover and a another box to box type to cover / replace herrera.

07 Feb 2019 20:42:28
Totally agree ken, I might write a large post expanding on what you just said. oh wait a minute.

{Ed025's Note - love it shappy..

07 Feb 2019 21:07:11
Shappy
If pogba leaves and if herrera doesn't sign a new contract and if fred doesn't kick on.
Lot of ifs and buts in there.

07 Feb 2019 21:09:51
I would be surprised if either herrera or pogba leave.
Infact looks like herrera and youngs deals could be confirmed shortly.

07 Feb 2019 21:43:57
Jred, all I'm saying is if one of those things happen then we will be short.

If one of Pogba of Herrera leave we will be short. If both stay and Fred doesn't kick on we will be short.

Your scenario of everything being okay requires;

Pogba to stay,
Herrera to extend his contract,
Fred to kick on,
And for the club to sign a player.

Whereas, what I'm saying is if just ONE of those things doesn't happen we will be short next season. It's like me betting on a single result and your betting on an accumulator. My odds of winning are much higher.

08 Feb 2019 08:13:13
I know ed has said TFM will not make it, but to be fair to the lad he has not really been given a chance. Now with our shortages in midfield I reckon he could be an ideal rotation option with Matic with the view of taking over as number 2 choice in a few years if he is successful, and to be honest Matic isn't a bad player to learn the trade from. If it doesn't work our then we can look for a replacement but for now I would give him a chance which allows us to prioritise other positions.







 

 

 
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