Connect with us

Manchester United

Three defensive midfielders Man United should target to replace Casemiro

Manchester United’s midfield struggles have been the main source of their woes this season. 

Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro do not collectively have the legs to cover the ground and block opposition passing lanes, leaving them vulnerable.

United’s lack of an in-form defensive midfielder and cohesive pressing structure has made the team more porous in the centre of the park.

There is no screening in front of the defence, leading to the team conceding shots from opposition attacks. 

Fulham had 17 shots in their 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday, highlighting this issue.

The Red Devils have faced 435 shots in the Premier League this season – only Sheffield United have conceded more.

Casemiro has been inconsistent due to injuries and could leave the club this summer. Sofyan Amrabat has struggled since joining United on loan, further highlighting the need for a defensive midfielder.

We analyse three potential signings that could solidify United’s midfield.

Amadou Onana

Everton powerhouse Amadou Onana is a solid option to strengthen United’s midfield. The Belgian is reportedly unsettled at the Merseyside club and will look to leave this summer.

United should be looking to strike a deal for the 22-year-old. He records 2.85 tackles per game, winning 71% of his aerial and 63% of his ground duels. 

These numbers highlight his ability to disrupt opposition attacks and protect the backline.

Onana has scored two goals and created four big chances in 20 league appearances this term. 

While his progressive passing and carrying numbers need improving, they would improve in a more positive system as he gains more experience. 

United should seriously consider exploring the possibility of signing Onana. His age, physical attributes, defensive solidity, and potential for offensive growth make him a compelling option to address their midfield deficiencies.

Joao Palhinha

The Fulham midfielder was due to join Bayern Munich in the summer transfer window. However, the deal collapsed in the eleventh hour, with the player stranded in Germany while waiting for his medical.

The Portuguese star returned to the London club for the rest of the season, signed a new deal and has continued performing admirably.

The former Sporting CP midfielder is a tackling machine, averaging 4.8 and 1.6 interceptions per game, winning 57% of his aerial and 61% of his ground duels. No midfielder in the top five leagues averages more tackles.

The 28-year-old would slot in perfectly into United’s midfield, although his progressive passing (2.77) and carrying (0.35) numbers are worrying. His age means there is little room for improvement in this regard.

However, if United sign Palhinha, they will get a Premier League-ready defensive midfielder boasting elite statistics and willing to cover every blade of grass to win the ball back.  

Signing Palhinha presents a trade-off. He would provide immediate defensive solidity and a tireless work ethic, but his limitations in ball progression may not fully address United’s midfield needs.

Aurelien Tchouameni

Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni could be a staple in United’s midfield for years if the Red Devils can lure him out of Spain. But securing his signature won’t be straightforward.

The Frenchman has struggled to start consistently in midfield, with international teammate Eduardo Camavinga ahead of him in the pecking order.

The 24-year-old has been filling in at centre-back due to a defensive crisis, and United could try convincing the former AS Monaco man to come to England with the promise of game time in his favoured midfield position.

Despite struggling for game time in Spain, he is a special talent that could bolster United’s midfield options.

Tchouameni is dominant in the air and on the ground. He is a physically indomitable presence blessed with elite composure and temperament. 

He can slot in at the base of a midfield three and function as either pivot in a midfield two.

It would be a tall order for United to take him out of Madrid, but they will have a transformative gem on their hands if they can pull a deal off.