Ugarte v Onana: Man Utd’s Casemiro Replacement

Ugarte v Onana: Man Utd’s Casemiro Replacement


Casemiro may still be a Manchester United player, but he is not expected to be by the time the end of the transfer window rolls around.

Stellar in his first season at Old Trafford, injuries hampered the former Real Madrid star last time out and a summer move for the 32-year-old looks odds on.

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The Saudi Pro League appears to be the most probable destination for the Brazil veteran, but a more pressing issue for Man Utd is who to bring in to replace him.

READ MORE: Man Utd’s first signing of the transfer window ‘INEVITABLE’ as Ten Hag ‘DELIGHTED’ with deal

There have been two main threads to this narrative over the course of the last week: Everton’s Amadou Onana or PSG’s Manuel Ugarte.

So who should United pick?

READ MORE: How Man Utd’s De Ligt lowball valuation differs from Branthwaite

Ugarte clearly offers better value for money

Ugarte comes out on top in terms of current ability, according to data analytics company SciSports. The Uruguay international is given a SciSkill of 90.5, which is well clear of the 83.2.

In terms of price, meanwhile, the South American is not cheap. PSG want to recoup much of the €60 million they paid Sporting CP for the player last summer. So far, reports indicate that Man Utd have only offered €30m. This will not be accepted.

Onana’s price is less clear. Everton are set to demand more than the €35m they paid Lille for him in 2022. When United chased him in the summer, they were quoted a price in the region of €60m – an identical price point to Ugarte.

While Onana has that intangible of Premier League experience, there is no doubt that Ugarte would offer far better money at that price.

FootballTransfers’ Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) for the South American is €41.8m. In contrast, Onana’s ETV sits at €17.1m, down from a peak of €29.5m. Not only is he not worth Everton’s asking price, he has never been close to that valuation.

Who is more like Casemiro?

Ugarte is once again a more natural replacement for Casemiro in a deep midfield role, SciSports indicates.

Onana has typically played as a central midfielder and not as a defensive midfielder, as Casemiro did almost exclusively for Man Utd in the Premier League. This is Ugarte’s bread and butter, meanwhile. He wins possession via tackles and interceptions and plays the ball simple for others to excel.

Interestingly, though, Onana did play deeper during the 2022/23 season, and during this campaign showed a more striking similarity to Casemiro.

95% Ball WinningMidfielderHoldingMidfielderDeep LyingPlaymakerBox-to-BoxMidfielder

Casemiro’s playing style at Man Utd: 2023/24

Manuel Ugarte

2023/2024 | Ligue 1 (FRA)

Defensive midfield (1449 Minutes played)

77% Ball WinningMidfielderHoldingMidfielderDeep LyingPlaymakerBox-to-BoxMidfielder

Amadou Onana

2023/2024 | Premier League (ENG)

Centre midfield (1805 Minutes played)

97% Ball WinningMidfielderHoldingMidfielderDeep LyingPlaymakerBox-to-BoxMidfielderAdvancedPlaymaker

The big advantage that the Everton man has over Ugarte is that his game is more rounded. He is much more of a No.8, offering box-to-box presence, where the South American is very a defensive force but not a great deal more.

Unless Man Utd are desperate for that box-to-box presence, which Ugarte is unlikely to become, the Red Devils should side with the South American, who is both stronger and better value.


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