Examining the State of Manchester United’s Midfield

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Throughout the summer, an on-going story has been Manchester United’s pursuit of a central midfielder. After being outclassed by Barcelona’s midfield followed by the retirement of Paul Scholes, everyone has expected United to find a replacement. After bringing in Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David de Gea for over 50 million euros, it seemed only a matter of time before the Red Devils would get their star midfielder. However, with the Samir Nasri and Wesley Sneijder sweepstakes stalling, one has to wonder if Sir Alex may just have enough faith in his squad to move ahead without any more signings.

So why would Sir Alex put down rumors about Nasri and Sneijder? Is he trying to play mind games with Arsenal and Inter? Perhaps he feels his roster is deep enough to wait until January to make a bid for either player which would make sense considering Nasri and Arsenal have still failed to agree on a new deal. Inter, meanwhile, has been reported to have debt issues and with the signing of Ricky Alvarez, the Milan club may soon feel pressure to unload Sneijder’s contract.

Ironically, it has been almost ten years since Manchester United signed a world class midfielder in Juan Sebastian Veron for a record price. I’m not saying that Nasri or Sneijder will turn out like him, but the possibility of obtaining an expensive flop is always present.

Buying the next Paul Scholes is a ridiculous notion that has been manufactured by the media. Paul Scholes is simply irreplaceable and all the money in the world won’t change that. Signing a high profile talent may help fill the gap he’s left but at the end of the day, Scholes’ retirement marked the end of an era.

According to the media, if Manchester United fail to buy a central midfielder, then the summer will be deemed a failure. Also, because of Barcelona’s dominance, it seems United have to sign a world class midfielder or they’ll never be able to compete with the Catalan giants. My question though, is when did Manchester United have the sole responsibility of dealing with Barcelona?

Manchester United should only be concerned about consistently winning rather than being concerned with how to stop Barcelona. With that, the Red Devils may not sign another midfielder because of confidence in what they already have. In terms of the future, one option could be the young Tom Cleverly fresh off his stint at Wigan. United fans saw Cleverly’s potential as an explosive attacking midfielder during the summer tournament last year. His play was a major factor to Wigan’s survival and the experience truly made him a better all-around player. He is already playing for the England U21 team and is definitely highly touted for the future due to his central role in creating chances from the center and the wings of the pitch. He’ll still need time to develop with United, but he is definitely a long-term solution to the midfield. In my opinion, if he wasn’t with the team already and was a transfer target, he would be a lot more hyped.

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