It seems like the middle third has been a place United have been looking to improve for several years now and, though they have spent heavily by spending around £85million, they have failed to get it just perfect.
Nemanja Matić and Fred combined Paul Pogba in that section of the pitch while academy graduates Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay have forced their way to the first-team picture. Yet despite spending close £200million on midfielders since the summer of 2016, United are reportedly seeking to bolster that portion of the pitch.
Based on Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils are looking to bring in a central midfielder on loan before the end of the season.
Marcos Llorente looks a good choice. However, the 35million signing has failed to force his way to Simeone’s thinking and has made only three LaLiga starts.
The small sample size makes it tough to construct a picture of the previous Spain under-21 international. He did not play much for Actual before his cross-city move. However, by combining his stats over the last two seasons you begin to comprehend why United might be enthusiastic.
He is used to seeing lots of the ball, averaging near 60 moves per 90, and he is frugal in possession, finding a team-mate with 92 percent of his passes. Of those, he is playing near 17 percent of them into the last third. He is not necessarily a founder, he is more of a magician’s assistant.
Llorente is handy in the atmosphere, winning 50 percent of the 2.5 aerial duels he struggles for per 90. He has averaged over ten ball recoveries, also, while making six interceptions. The 24-year-old is impressive in everything he does between the two boxes.
With United reportedly close to signing Sporting maestro Bruno Fernandes, signing somebody who can support him will be beneficial but not a requirement. The Portuguese playmaker is more than only a final-third player. He is diligent in his work from the ball and that’s what makes him such a gift. Unlike in previous years, the Red Devils doesn’t have to sign someone to assist unshackle him. They simply have to strike a balance that enables their players to express themselves.
With Fred, Matić, Pereira, McTominay, and Pogba already in the club, there is enough quality there to watch Ole Gunnar Solskjær through before the summer. Then they can tackle any flaws in the middle third. Attempting to bed two midfielders to the team today, one of whom could just be a short term signing, is a risk United don’t need to take. Not, when they are just five points off a Champions League position with 16 games to play.
Fernandes’ coming will give Solskjær an attacking threat from the center third, he has not had all year. Pogba’s accidents have deprived United of goals from midfield, with just McTominay (three) and Periera (one) getting on the scoresheet. In actuality, only eight players have found the back of the net for United in the Premier League this period.
Fernandes gives them choices. He attracts goals and creativity to the team, which might well match the likes of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard. Substantial changes in January can be damaging. Rather than kickstarting a year, they could derail it.
At 31 he does not have a long-term future with the club, but he still has a beneficial effect on the team and he is up to speed with the rigours of the Premier League. The exact same can be said for Fred and Periera. Are they a better option than looking to bed in a participant on a short term loan? Definitely.
So as to provide Fernandes the best chance of getting a direct impact, Solskjær should back the players he has at his disposal. Meaning no Llorente. It can even mean that they sell Pogba today and just replace him in the summer.
Without everyone on the same page, Fernandes could be another costly flop to increase the ever growing record of wasted cash at Old Trafford. Sooner or later, something has to give. Now’s the time to buck that trend.