Manchester United may have to do the same again with their midfield in the transfer window – Blessing Sports News
Strikers are Man United’s priority and the last few weeks have shown why the midfield is not too far away.
The average age of Manchester United’s central midfielders is 29 and a half and that showed against two players in their early 20s last week.
For the fourth game in a row, Brighton sensation Moises Caicedo dominated United, the club he seemed destined to join in January 2021. Three days later, West Ham’s Declan Rice man of the match in United’s other 1-0 defeat south of the M6.
Rice asked about United during discussions with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw two years ago and he still sounds curious in post-match interviews. Rice could choose a lot this summer.
“He was outstanding tonight but we have some really great players,” said David Moyes at his post-match press conference. “It’s not surprising to me, he has a great talent to recover the ball. You’ve seen him play for England and the ability he uses to recover the ball and get around people, he’s great on the pitch and very fast.
“I’m very happy but not surprised (interest in Rice). That’s why he’s probably the best English midfield player and that’s why he will be very expensive if someone comes calling.”
Jude Bellingham is the more complete England midfielder but Rice could charge the same. Both are priced in the nine-figure region and both have two years remaining on their contracts.
Erik ten Hag has been pushing United for a second approach for Bellingham three years after he visited their Carrington training complex but they are a distant third favorite – at best – behind Real Madrid and Manchester City. A source said Ten Hag also “did not close the door” on wooing Frenkie de Jong again.
United haven’t been as hot for Rice since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s exit interview 18 months ago. Rice will improve nearly every Premier League midfield and he has a knack for developing similar to Yaya Toure, all steel at Barcelona but delicate for Manchester City.
Whoever United love, it has to be a midfielder with a similar age to 24-year-old Rice. 31-year-old Casemiro and Christian Eriksen have been on display in another tough week of two away fixtures three days apart.
Eriksen was not used at Brighton, where Fred demonstrated why he went two months without starting the Premier League. The highlight, or low light, was an attempted pass to the Brighton section. Fred illuminates the ball for a throw-in in the United area.
United’s wobble in the Premier League was such a shock that they lost the steadfastness of Scott McTominay. McTominay is the weakest, technically, of the four senior midfielders permanently on United’s books, but he is also the fittest. United were long-legged in the middle in the second half against Tottenham, Brighton and West Ham.
Ten Hag admitted United were “overpowered” by Brighton in the final 20 minutes. Roberto de Zerbi innovatively started Caicedo at right back but he covered so much it felt like an illusion. Brighton were outnumbered by United with Billy Gilmour and Alexis Mac Allister pitted against Casemiro and Fred.
Gilmour is 21 years old and Mac Allister is 24 years old. Eriksen was 21 when he joined Tottenham nearly a decade ago and 24-year-old Casemiro started his first Champions League final in Milan in 2016.
Eriksen and Casemiro have been successful players and are United’s two players of the season. In a squad riddled with character flaws, they were among the few that Ten Hag and Eriksen could count on to produce virtuoso performances at Nottingham Forest and Spurs last month. Casemiro is perhaps the only United player to rival Marcus Rashford for a statue of Sir Matt Busby.
Still untenable for United to stick with two old starters next season. Eriksen has been substituted in 22 of his 33 starts while staying power has not been as much of an issue as discipline for Casemiro. He has missed eight games through suspension and he was lucky not to be sent off for a third time at Brighton.