United Need A Ball-Winning Midfielder, But Who’s Available?

By on November 2, 2011

One of the most telling signs of Manchester United’s season so far, is that we need a defensive ball-winning midfielder. That was first evident for me to see in the game against Arsenal strangely enough.

For a short 10 minute spell Arsenal had the ball and were in control slowly threading balls through the United midfield crisply and it made for uneasy times for fans. There was no will to try to stop them playing or get tight to them. In Europe United will get punished more so if they fail to break up play and stop teams playing. Thankfully United ran out 8-2 winners that day.

There have been gaps in the static un-energetic Cleverley-less midfield which has been exploited in games hence the reason for Ferguson having to put a 5 man midfield at Anfield. It was torn apart at Old Trafford by David Silva with the assurances of the hard working Gareth Barry behind him and the power horse of Yaya Toure as City romped to a staggering 6-1 win at the home of the champions. Wayne Rooney was even put in midfield for the trip to Everton highlighting Ferguson’s concern which the fans share.

There isn’t a shortage of creativity with Nani, Young, Cleverley and Rooney all capable of a key ball to open up defences it’s to close space fill the gaps and win the ball which is where United falter. Dismiss all the talk that Manchester United need to buy Luka Modric Wesley Sneijder or Mario Gotze the clear indication is that United need a defensive ball winning midfielder. In hindsight Paul Scholes hasn’t been relied on for the past few seasons at Old Trafford and with the surgence of Tom Cleverley a creative midfielder isn’t needed.

The only problem is there is a shortage of candidates for this who would be deemed good enough for Manchester United.

Danielle De Rossi is ideally the man who fits the bill to add tenacity and a bullish mentality to the United midfield. He is a presence, fierce in the tackle, refuses to be bullied and a leader on the pitch. The transfer is unlikely to happen with Danielle De Rossi set to sign a new deal with Roma in the coming weeks.

Yann M’Vila is the other name spouted out as the man for the job but only recently signing a new deal with Rennes would increase his value. He is only 21 years of age but the potential for the French international is huge. If he was to be bought in January (hugely unlikely) he would also be available for the Champions League ties seeing as Rennes are in the Europa League. Again a hugely unlikely scenario nonetheless.

Currently the midfield has huge pressure to produce performances in the quality of Xavi and Iniesta which just isn’t going to happen. That sort of quality and talent isn’t there at present and with players being put in roles their not working best in it even worsens the situation.

What Manchester United need is a real powerhouse tough tackling midfielder snapping at the oppositions heels forcing them into a mistake. Someone who can win the ball and urge the team forward. A leader. Failure to address this issue eventually will see Anderson have a typical Anderson season, Fletcher to have unnoticed average performances and Carrick to come into the side and be criticized for a disciplined good performance. Hoping they all prove me wrong but that’s my prediction.

The fact is Manchester United have arguably replaced Scholes they just haven’t replaced Owen Hargreaves, which is something strange considering the latter’s final three seasons at the club were largely spent on the treatment table.

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13 Comments

  1. pjch

    November 2, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Nice article. Well thought out and if we do buy a ball winner it will go a long way to helping United win things this season. I would go a bit further and go for a top class midfielder too. Unfortunately I don’t see this happening this season. Don’t blame the players we already have if we don’t win anything. There is only one to blame and he is the one buying. Its been like this now for a number of seasons

    • RedScot

      November 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      I am not sure what I am reading there?
      Blame the one that is buying?You mean Sir Alex?

  2. Kev

    November 2, 2011 at 11:34 am

    1 name.

    POGBA!!!

    We dont need to spent £30m on ANY DM when all he will do is maybe, MAYBE help us win this year.

    When we have players like the above ready to come in next year, it would be halting thier progress.

  3. pjch

    November 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I have supported United for over 50 years and in all that time, whichever team you support, there is only one person who does the buying. We have had lots of opportunity to put our midfield right over the last few years. We have also had ‘no value in the market’ and then the waste of money on Bebe Diouff and Oberton. No doubt we have great potential coming through but we cannot wait for them to fulfil their potential we have to rectify the problems we have now if we are to beat the likes of Barca. Cleverly can’t do it on his own and Pogba and Morrison are for the future. So if we are to win things this season we do need to buy and SAF is the only one who does the buying. Don’t get me wrong SAF is the greatest manager of all time but I cannot understand why he hasn’t rectified this problem a few seasons ago – especially when we all knew it had to be done

    • RedScot

      November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      Hi mate, respect firstly for your ’50’ years of supporting United.You will have witnessed much leaner times than the last two years and seen teams with much lesser quality no doubt.
      Bebe was an error based on ‘video’ judgement and Carlos Queiroz a mistake.
      Name me one manager in the football league that has not made an error.In fact name me a human that has not?
      Obertan cost £3.00 Million pounds from Bordeaux exactly the sum we recieved from Newcastle, no net loss to United.It was worth a punt.
      Mame Biram Diouf is a similar case, I gaurentee we will recover the fee we paid Molde for him.Its just the way it is, not all players can be United class.
      .
      I would suggest mate rather than take your venom and concerns out on the greatest ever manager that United have had in terms of silverware delivered for the fans, lets not forget we won the league last season, not playing Champange football, but win it we did bye 9 clear points.A visit to London for our third champions league finals in 4 years.Not to shabby is it?
      .
      Think on this mate and redirect your anger! Uniteds net spend on players during the last 5 years per season is????????????.
      Less than £9.00 Million per season.
      .
      Celebrate the fact we have a manager that has kept the glue in place.
      LUHG.

      • RedScot

        November 3, 2011 at 1:24 am

        ignore details, pour the pints!

  4. pjch

    November 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Scott. Was not taking a pot at SAF just pointing out that blaming the players who are signed and in some cases not good enough for United will not put things right. Yes we have won the title many many times especially over the last few years but the opposition in Chelsea Arsenal et al fell away dramatically. Barca have outplayed us in the Champions League finals against, with the exception of Cleverley and Scholesy, midfielders who are still at the club. Managers buy players and every man and his dog on every site I’ve read have called for fresh blood in midfield. Cleverly is injured again and we have nobody who can step up to the mark.
    All I am saying is if we are to continue winning things then our midfield needs strengthening and the only person in a position to do this is SAF. If he chooses not to do so then we all will continue to support the team and everyone connected to the club especially the greatest manager ever. I want United to win every trophy going.

    • RedScot

      November 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      I agree totally mate, truly regards the midfield.As you say every man and his dog (Blind ones also) know the midfield is below what is required.I wrote the very thing a few weeks ago to Chudi on the Busby way.Nobody at that point in time was mentioning the fact.All was great a United, sitting proud on the top of the league.Masking the openness of play during the Arsenal and Chelsea games.The score could have been anything you wanted.Gung ho approach.
      No defensive powerhouse to protect the back four.I understand also the loss of Paul and the cutting edge that has resulted from this.Tom is 24 ffs you cannot expect and lay this burden at his young feet, with 5 games under his belt at United.
      It will still bring me back to the point of lack of serious investment in the team.! Some will argue and again I understand this that the manager should speak out in anger against the Glazer.its basically a rock and a hard place for him.
      I just do not believe during the week of his glorious 25th anniversary at United we should be any way slighting him.It is not the ‘United’ way.
      I noted an article this morning on the sabotage times, implying the managers tainted bye his veiled support of the Glazer……(Comments closed) or maybe just to me. lol.
      Anyway mate you will get a picture from myself.Enjoy the match tonight and hope for a United like performance with style and panache.
      God bless.

  5. Legolas

    November 3, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Christian Erikson. we need a technically-adept n creative CM as well. everytime the oppositon set-up shop, we barely get shots on target..we create nothing. @Redscot. Messi is 24, isnt he? wen u are good it comes with its burden..Tom can n should handle it to prove his mettle. Anderson is not de answer. Banega n Shaqiri too

  6. RedScot

    November 3, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Stay of the plstic’s and kids play, legoland

  7. RedScot

    November 3, 2011 at 12:56 am

    night girls you will see me where i want to be.Keep yer clitoris throbing , you just never no when, i apppear!
    Keep it United.
    Cmon U Reds

  8. Pingback: Rennes, ville piétonne depuis 30 ans … « Maï Savoir Is Riche

  9. Brian Law

    November 3, 2011 at 7:23 am

    The only place where Man United can get value for its money is in the form of Sinji Kagawa. That guys is great. He is a Silva type of midfielder. He can do well with fletcher. Sneijder is good but just check out his age, wages, injury record. It would be a big risk. Luka Modric was the best option but remember his desire is to go to Stamford Bridge. Lets go go for Sinji Kagawa.

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