Their need for a world-class midfielder.
Liverpool brag about Fabinho, Chelsea have N’Golo Kante and Man City can call on Rodri, but it’s clear that Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s options of Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay just aren’t on the same level, while the likes of Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek is not that kind of player.
The Red Devils have been linked on several occasions with a decision by West Ham United’s Declan Rice, but the Manchester Evening News report that they were excluded from a move for the England international and also asked about Eduardo Camavinga ahead of his move to Real Madrid.
Realizing that a new central midfielder might be unattainable, United prioritized signing a winger and a center-back, with such a move perhaps similar to how Liverpool waited to sign the good player countless times in the past, the most famous with Virgil van Dijk and most recently with Ibrahima Konaté.
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But such a bold but educated bet, which would have suggested that forward-looking transfer planning was actually in place at Old Trafford, was completely undermined by paying hefty Premier League salaries to bring 36-year-old Ronaldo back to the club in the end. August simply because they could.
While the move has been widely celebrated by United fans, seen as a signing that could take the Premier League title back to Manchester’s red half, the absence of a new midfielder has proved rather costly to the during the formative weeks of the season.
The Red Devils are currently in sixth place after suffering losses to Aston Villa and Leicester City and drawing with Southampton and Everton, while they also lost to Young Boys in the Champions League and left the Cup. the League in the hands of West Ham United, with increasing pressure on Solskjaer as a result.
MEN report that the Norwegian is privately unhappy with club bosses for not having acquired a new midfielder option this summer.
After all, it’s great to add Ronaldo and Sancho to the striker ranks like Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Pogba, but such a plethora of options is compromised. when that leaves your team more off balance than ever with a much softer cross than any of your title rivals.
In the past, United have been able to boast of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane in their engine room, but their bottom ranks are a far cry from the two Premier League legends.
As such, it leaves them with an obvious weakness that they are unable to root out until January at the earliest, and a Liverpool from Jurgen Klopp could easily exploit at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Reds saw their hopes of defending the Premier League title last season wiped out by an injury crisis at center-back but, luckily for Jurgen Klopp, similar issues in the midfield so far this campaign has not. not yet had the same effect.
After clearing Gini Wijnaldum to leave Anfield at the end of his contract this summer, with the Dutchman subsequently signing for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, the Liverpool boss has repeatedly been on the defensive when asked him if he should sign a replacement. midfielder himself.
“The reflex is that we lose a midfielder and we don’t bring in anyone, now we count our midfielders,” he told reporters in August. “If there is an area on the pitch where we really have all the skills. Dynamic, creativity, defensive oriented, attacking oriented.
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“There is no gap. It’s not that we have to introduce another. We have players here with great skills.
“Last weekend doesn’t mean Harvey [Elliott] is now the savior of our midfield problem because we don’t have one. If Gini was still there, Harvey probably wouldn’t have played this game. But he played and he played well. Great. And I knew before that game that there was a good chance he was playing well, but he did.
“And we have others too. Curtis Jones is 20 years old and played 15-20 games last year. He can and will do and must take the next step.
“Naby Keita obviously hasn’t played a full season so far exactly as he expected or might have expected, but he still has some really good games. Big games where we won when he started and now he’s started this season twice. Would he have played if Gini was still there? I don’t know obviously but maybe not.
“And then we have Thiago who hasn’t started a match yet. We have [Jordan Henderson] who only played one of the games. We have [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain with a dynamic that you can’t buy right now if you want to buy a midfielder. I probably forgot one. Ah, Fabinho of course!
“So that’s the situation. You don’t have to buy a midfielder just because there is someone in the market. I can’t help the fans who want us to hire a player just to bring someone in.
“We also did our job and now we should be ready. If you are really with us and really think about it, you will find that there is no real need.
“If the only player who is really the one who could improve on everything we said, we would choose him, I promise, if we saw him.” “
With Liverpool still undefeated this season, Klopp’s defense of his varied midfield options has proven to be fair.
And this despite losing Harvey Elliott to long-term injury, seeing Thiago Alcantara, James Milner, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones also suffer setbacks that left them sidelined, and without Jordan Henderson after a delayed preseason start, Fabinho due to quarantine rules and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after he became a father.
These are the Reds’ eight midfield options that are missing out on games at one point or another for various reasons already this season, disregarding the weaknesses in injury records of Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago and Henderson in the pass.
In facing Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, Klopp had to do without the services of Elliott, Thiago and Jones, it remains to be seen whether the latter pair will be fit to return to face Manchester United on Sunday.
Yet even if their options remain exhausted, Liverpool still have the balanced midfielder Solskjaer aspires to.
And that’s why, as the two sides prepare to stick together again, Klopp remains happy with the options he has despite losing Wijnaldum, while United boss privately sulks a transfer judgment error. of his club.
It looks like Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t fixing everything at Old Trafford.
Whether Liverpool are able to exploit United’s weakness in midfield or not, we’ll find out at 4.30 p.m. on Sunday.
But whatever the outcome, only one of the two managers at the respective shelters will have to curse his team’s inability to recruit a new midfielder over the summer.