By: Michael Amaning
For a long period of time, Manchester United fans have yearned for a central midfielder who has a creative element to their play. A player who doesn’t play just behind the striker but someone who can play deeper and dictate play alongside Michael Carrick. Since the start of David Moyes’ time at Old Trafford, we seem to have taken steps in the right direction in showing interest in CMs who are of a high quality.
We started with our pursuit of Thiago Alcantara, a young and creative CM who was available on the cheap due to a clause in his contract. Nearly everyone in the football world knew that we had a genuine interest in the player and according to various reports, we were extremely close to getting the player. However, the late intervention of Thiago’s former manager (Pep Guardiola) lured him to the European and German champions Bayern Munich leaving many United fans (including myself) disappointed.
We seemed to have turned our interest to Cesc Fabregas, another midfielder who also plays for Barcelona. Fabregas would be more expensive than Thiago but with Fabregas, you’re buying a player who you know can play in the EPL and also in the Champions League. We started with a 25 million pound bid which was soon rejected, this caused us to raise it to 30 million with add ons which, as far as we know, is yet to have been accepted or rejected. Getting Fabregas would be absolutely brilliant, the thought of him in a deep midfield role with Carrick and Kagawa just further forward is mouth watering however, getting Fabregas is unlikely as a clause in his contract gives Arsenal first refusal on him should Barcelona want to sell, I have no doubt that Arsenal would exercise this clause to prevent United from getting one of their greatest players to play for them in the modern era.
So the question remains, who will United buy to improve the midfield? A place that David Moyes himself has identified as a point of improvement. There are a few options but only a few that are thought to be able to play for Manchester United. My first thought is the Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. In a sense, the same as Fabregas, has EPL experience, has Champions League experience and plays in a deep role. With the arrival of Illarramendi and Isco who both cost in excess of 35 million pounds, one would think that Modric’s potential number of games that he would start has been lessened. If he came to United however, he would almost definitely be a starter from the first game, could this be a factor that allows us to bring Luka to Old Trafford, only time will tell.
Another option is Christen Erikson, the young CM who plays for Ajax currently. Young, vast amount of potential and could become one of the top midfielders in the world through the development of his game at our team, he would also be relatively cheap as he doesn’t have long left on his contract and has stated that he wouldn’t sign a new one at this time. Erikson used to be a name on the lips of many United fans but has somewhat slipped under the rader recently, whether he is still a target or not is something we are not sure about but if he was to come here, I have no doubts that he would do well.
The last midfielder who could possibly come to United this window is one a number of United fans don’t want to see. This is Marouane Fellani. One of David Moyes’ best players at Everton and not surprising that he’s been linked with a move to United since Moyes was appointed.
Fellani offers a physical element to our midfield that us United fans havent seen since Roy Keane, he’s good in the air and would definitely help us against the more physical sides in the EPL. However, could Fellani do as well in Europe? Or will he be a liability, a player that would get frustrated by the theatrics seen in Europe and pick up numerous cards in the competition due to his aggressive style. I think he would be more the latter as he picks up cards in the premier league as it is, let alone what would happen in Europe. In my opinion, this would be a poor move on it’s own but a good move if we were to get a player like Modric AND Fellani as we would get strength and creativity which we know from the Keane and Scholes partnership, is a deadly combination.
In conclusion, we know that we need a midfielder, we know it will be difficult to find one but the main thing is that we know that it’s an area that needs improvement. I am confident that we are taking steps to solve this problem and should hopefully hear some good news sooner rather than later