Opinion: Man United need to sign a playmaker more than a centre-back
By Tim Opera
As the mid-season transfer window draws nearer, speculation is growing.
According to hardtackle, Manchester United are in pursuit of Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, with scouts reportedly going out to watch him on Sunday as the Serbian international plays against Bologna in Serie A.
Should United be prioritising a defender at this point? In defence, United is well covered with Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly all top notch on their day.
What the defence at Old Trafford really needs is a major boost in confidence not added personnel.
Watching Manchester United struggle against city rivals Manchester City on Sunday, it was hard to ignore the fact that they direly need a playmaker who can make things work in the middle of the park.
Taking a critical look at the Red Devil’s play and comparing it to that of a team which controls the game from the centre of the park. There is always that magician waving his magic wand, controlling the direction of the game, deciding where the attack should come from, either left, right or through the centre.
Even though United’s midfield is filled with talent with the likes of Paul Pogba, Fred and Matic, none of them seem willing to shoulder the responsibility of controlling the game.
When United lose possession in the opposition’s half, the midfielders are lagging, unable to break down the opposition attack.
Even though Fred and Pogba try to partner up with the wingers, Matic usually fails to meet them halfway, leaving a big hole in the middle of the park.
This void affords opponents the opportunity to man-mark Mourinho’s men as well as keep their formation intact.
At this point, if Mourinho cannot get his midfielders up on their feet, he needs to find competent replacements. There are tonnes of local academies too, so there really is no excuse.”
Reinforcing the team with a new defender is not a bad idea but it should not be top of their shopping list. United does not need a defender at the moment but a playmaker who can take charge of the game before it’s too late.