Manchester United were involved in some mind blowing transfer deals in the just concluded transfer window and unlike in times past, Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to get in his main transfer targets.
Notably, the club was able to bring in long term target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, followed by French centre-back, Raphael Varane who joined from Real Madrid in a lucrative deal worth £34 million.
After the Varane signing, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had admitted in a press conference that he was satisfied with the business the club had done at the time. Hence, no one could envisage any further arrivals at the club, not to to talk of the arrival of the GOAT himself, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United after parting ways with Italian Giants Juventus came as quite a surprise to the football world as just 24 hours before the deal was announced, Ronaldo had been heavily linked to United’s city rivals Manchester City but a rapid turn of events saw the Portuguese end up at the club where he won his first Balon d’or.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the English premier league has definitely changed and altered opinions as many now believe that Manchester United could end up winning the EPL trophy at the end of the season for the first time in 9 years.
However, people seem to be forgetting that Cristiano Ronaldo is not the answer to Man Utd’s problems. At the age of 36, the Portuguese is a certified goal machine as he guarantees at least around 2 dozens of goals a season. It then begs the question, has goalscoring been a problem for Manchester United under Ole? The answer is no.
Manchester United in recent times have not been starving of goals as there are already numerous sources of goals at the club. Little wonder they hit Leeds United for 5 on opening day.
Portuguese midfielder, Bruno Fernandes has been in sensational goalscoring form since he first arrived the club in the first month of the decade and he’s grown into a talismanic figure at the theatre of dreams. His hat-trick against Leeds United in the first premier league game of the season was just a testament of how prolific he could be this season. Also, teenage sensation Mason Greenwood has set his feet on the pedal in terms of goalscoring as he has proven times without number that he is one of the most lethal teenagers in the game and he was on hand to bail out Man Utd with the solitary goal that ensured all 3 points against Wolves at the Molineux during the weekend.
Veteran striker Edison Cavani is also one who has proven to be a reliable source for goals as he has never disappointed when called upon. Not forgetting Marcus Rashford whom at a point beared the goalscoring burden of the club. And new signing Jadon Sancho could also prove to be a source of goals and creativity as he was during his time at Borussia Dortmund.
The fact remains that whether Man United have Ronaldo or not they would always score goals. So, what then is the missing piece in the jigsaw?
A proper defensive midfielder; Man United’s weak link seems to be in defensive midfield as it has been evidenced in lots of their games that there is just very little or no shield for their back 4.
Brazilian midfielder, Fred has played the role of a DM for the past few years now, however, his performances a times does not do the confidence of the fans or the team any good. The Brazilian has been heavily criticized in recent times and it is yet to be seen whether he’d be able to meet up with the standards set for a defensive midfielder in a club like Manchester United.
Scottish midfielder Scott McTominay is seen as another option in front of the back 4 but his skillset shows he’s more of box to box player than a defense shielding player. He’s the sort of player that would need to be paired alongside a world-class defensive midfielder in order to bring out the best in him.
Nemanja Matic is another option to play at DM but the Serbian at the age of 33 does not have the work rate and the legs to perform effectively the role of a disruptor in front of the attacking talents on display at Man United.
Also, a player like Paul Pogba for example if paired in midfield with a world class traditional DM would find as much joy as he’s always found for the French national team while playing alongside N’golo Kanté.
It’s quite unfathomable why Manchester United did not prioritize signing a defensive midfielder in the just closed transfer window when players like Wilfred Ndidi, Ruben Neves, Aurélien Tchouaméni amongst others were reportedly available in the market.