Manchester United Must Add Midfield Depth In The Summer Transfer Window In Order To Challenge For The Premier League – Forbes

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Casemiro of Manchester United at full time of the Premier League match … [+] between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on January 18, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)
After a disappointing week in which Manchester United picked up one point from six on their travels to London, it has been made abundantly clear that Erik Ten Hag needs midfield reinforcements.
It has been an age old problem for a number of years now, which was alleviated somewhat by bringing in ex-Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro. The Brazil international has been sensational for Manchester United and has changed the team’s fortunes around, but it is clear that without him, there is a different feel to the way they play.
After Casemiro picked up his fifth yellow card of the season away at Crystal Palace, in which Manchester United conceded a last-minute equalising goal, fans feared for the worst heading into the weekend against the high-flying Gunners without him.
It is no understatement to suggest that Casemiro is the glue, or cement as Ten Hag likes to say, in the team, and is fundamental in how the team plays on the front foot. Exceptional at sniffing danger out and stopping it at source, Casemiro is also being widely recognised for his transitional play and on-the-front measures he takes when he does break up the opposition’s attacks.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 22: Scott McTominay of Manchester United during the Premier League match … [+] between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)
At the Emirates, as Manchester United came away with a narrow 3-2 defeat, it felt as if though it was a ping pong match at times. From one end of the pitch to the other, with little to no control in the central areas – which is exactly where Casemiro would have been operating from should he not have picked up that costly yellow card.
As seen with Casemiro’s replacement, Scott McTominay’s performance was heavily criticised in the aftermath. A player who has struggled in the last two seasons at Manchester United and is likely to be moved on in the summer.
The Red Devils have emphatically struggled for quality additions in the middle of the park, but Ten Hag’s signings of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen have alleviated some of the pressure and made the team far more balanced.
However, as shown, Eriksen struggles to keep the intensity going for a full match, and has never been a master of the defensive side to the game. Behind Eriksen and Casemiro sit Fred and McTominay, with the latter not being good enough. For a club that is trying to operate in all competitions at the highest level and challenging for honours, it is not a good enough rotation selection to pick from.
Frenkie de Jong central midfield of Barcelona and Netherlands runs with the ball during the LaLiga … [+] Santander match between Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on January 8, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Ten Hag knows this and will be urging to the club – who are more than likely going to have new owners come July 1 – to bring in new recruits in the central midfield area. Frenkie de Jong, of FC Barcelona, will be a player that the club try for once more, even if they failed to secure his signature last summer.
There will be a number of targets that Manchester United look to pursue at the end of the season, with the likelihood of two having to be brought in for competition among places.
The Dutch manager has done a terrific job in turning around the fate of the club from free-fall in a six month period, but there is no substitute for quality in the squad which he will demand heading into next season.

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