Is An Attacking Midfield The Missing Piece To The Man United Puzzle?
Sir Alex Ferguson has already signaled his intent to the rest of the Premier League and world soccer, snatching up Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David De Gea for around £60 million. Sir Alex Ferguson and United are surely not resting on their laurels. They’re improving their squad that won the record-breaking 19th Premier League title as well as finished runners up in the Champions League. Even with these major additions, are United still missing a final piece?
Looking at the United roster, they seem to have a void at the attacking midfield spot in their line-up. Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher are both serviceable center midfielders, but both don’t really add that attacking flair. Ryan Giggs is another option, but with his now well known off-the-field issues and his somehow to this point age-defying performances, he is bound to slow down and can’t be called upon to play the required games to be a fixture in the starting 11. There is also Anderson patrolling the United midfield, but he seems more of a rugged, defensive minded player to me, even with his Brazilian heritage.
One option that United can continue to explore is keeping Wayne Rooney in the hole behind Chicharito, which worked throughout the title-winning campaign. Although, Rooney can play there I think his best position is slightly higher up the pitch allowing him to focus on banging goals in rather then setting them up.
Another option is using new signee Ashley Young as an attacking midfielder. He has played there in the past, but there is no doubt his best position is on the wings and is most certainly what he was brought to Man United to do. Also lining up on the opposite side of Nani or Valencia will torment Premier League fullbacks due to their pace. Keeping Young on the wings allows him to play an even more vital role in the more direct, quick counter-attacking game that United have become so adept at.
That leaves the option that Man United need to purchase an attacking midfielder and Ferguson seems to agree with this. His reported pursuit of Samir Nasri and previous links with Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder show Sir Alex is hot on the trail of another attacking option.
By adding a player in this position it could really take some of the pressure off Wayne Rooney, who has been playing in deeper positions. Also, adding an attacking midfield can relieve some of the goal-scoring burden off the forward triumvirate of Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and this past season’s biggest surprise — Javier Hernandez.
An addition of an attacking midfielder may benefit United more in the Champions League than the Premier League. Manchester United could potentially face-off with Barcelona at some point in next year’s competition. It is no secret that United’s midfield was no match for Barca’s, which Barca has done to so many teams before the final. With an attacking mid, United could have another player to help hold on to the ball if they have a rematch at some point. Also it would allow a link with Rooney rather then him having to play so deep.
Although, they are the defending champions and have already improved with recent signings, Manchester United still need the final piece to the puzzle in an attack minded midfielder.
Do you think a signing in this role is required for United’s push to repeat? Could it be the signing that brings them back to Champions League glory? Have your say in the comments.