Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Man Utd’s failure to sign holding midfielder could be catastrophic not only for season but in keeping stars like Ronaldo

IT has been a quiet January transfer window in the Premier League compared to the usual standards, where only half the teams in the league have dipped into the market and made the signings they require.

Manchester United are one of the ten clubs that have opted to not take part, which could come back to haunt them as they are trying to turn the season around and end it on a high note. 

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Ronaldo could leave United if they don’t secure a top four finishCredit: EPA

The Red Devils have been linked with the likes of Amadou Haidara, Denis Zakaria and Yves Bissouma, along with many other players throughout the month, though, they have not shown any intent on actually signing someone.

Over the last couple of weeks, interim coach Ralf Rangnick has had to change formations, from his preferred 4-2-2-2 setup to plan B of a 4-3-3 system, which has mainly been down to the lack of a holding midfielder available to him along with Paul Pogba’s absence. 

The number six position within the starting line-up holds a huge responsibility for the team on and off the ball, as he dictates the play from deep, plays the passes between the lines and out to the flanks as well as contributes to the defensive side by nullifying the opposition’s threat on the counter.

United shockingly have one natural holding midfielder in the whole squad, which is 33-year-old Nemanja Matic, who no longer has the legs and energy to carry out the duties on a daily basis. 

Although Fred and Scott McTominay are regarded as the two most used midfielders within the squad, regardless of the approach and system utilised by the manager, the duo simply do not have the footballing intelligence or the technical ability to play as a lone midfielder.

Both individuals based on their strengths and weaknesses from the last few months are deemed as box-to-box players.

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Closely looking at rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, both clubs have an established and world class holding midfielder in Fabinho and Rodri, who have shown that the big European clubs in modern football must have a proven player in the number six role to be successful in the domestic league and Champions League competitions.

On the other hand, United have failed to adapt to the modern ways and have not addressed the defensive midfielder situation over the last five years.  

When noting that the bench players in Amad Diallo, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek have recently gone out on loan, Rangnick no longer has the squad depth to get his team through the remainder of the season, as the side are currently hanging onto fourth position whilst remaining in both the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Overall, the lack of planning from the American owners have been clear as daylight since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, where they have focused on achieving successful results on the business and financial side rather than helping the football club to return to their best on the pitch. 

From poor negotiation skills to complete transfer moves, overpaying average players, to not showing consistency in the types of managers the board want to bring to Old Trafford, there is no surprise that United have not challenged for the major trophies over the last ten years or so.  

And if United do not finish in the top four, due to the board failing to bring in a holding midfielder, it will leave the next long-term manager with great difficulties in attracting big-name players without the presence of Champions League football.

On top of that, key individuals such as Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo would look to leave because the club are heading into the wrong direction. 

@UTDWorldwide @asif9707

⚽ Read our Manchester United live blog for the latest news and transfer gossip from Old Trafford

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