Cesc Fabregas has claimed that Manchester United needs to build their team around Kobbie Mainoo in the midfield. The former Spanish soccer star made the comments while speaking on BBC‘s Planet Premier League podcast. Fabregas previously played for Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea, and Monaco before retiring after one season with Italian side Como.

The Spaniard is widely regarded as one of the top central midfielders in the last two decades. Fabregas collected a plethora of trophies as a player including LaLiga and Premier League titles. He also helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 Euros.

As a decorated player, Fabregas knows what it takes to be a quality player in the middle of the pitch. Mainoo, also a central midfielder, has impressed Premier League fans all over the world due to his stellar play, particularly at such a young age. The 18-year-old phenom has essentially become undroppable at United this season.

Former star says Mainoo can get even better with top players around him

Fabregas has taken notice of the youngster as well. The Spaniard was asked on the aforementioned podcast about what has impressed him so much about Mainoo. “I think he’s definitely not only the future, but in my opinion, he’s already the best [United midfielder],” proclaimed Fabregas.

“He’s someone that [United] needs to protect, but at the same time they need to invest a lot of time, a lot of minutes, in him already because he can make a real difference. He’s got a fantastic personality, and it feels like he’s been playing for a long time.”

The former Gunner also admitted that the Red Devils need to make Mainoo the key centerpiece of the club’s midfield heading into next season. As a result, Fabregas expects United’s brass to bring in additional top-quality midfielders to surround the budding star.

“In the summer [United] needs to recruit players that can gain this quality on the pitch to make him more brilliant,” added Fabregas. “Because these talented players, the better quality they have around them, the better you get. So, I’m expecting a big summer transfer window from United’s point of view. But from next season [Mainoo] needs to be a key player no matter what.”

Mainoo has outshined veteran stars in United’s midfield

The Red Devils entered the current campaign expecting veteran duo Casemiro and Sofyan Amrabat to lead their midfield. This, however, has not exactly been the case. The Brazilian has unfortunately been a shell of his former self, while the Moroccan has failed to nail down a regular starting spot. Amrabat has managed just seven appearances in manager Erik ten Hag’s starting lineup in league play.

Fabregas touched on Mainoo’s impressive maturity during the podcast interview. The former star claimed that talented youngsters can prove themselves fairly easily in 5-0 matches. However, Mainoo is playing well above his age while United are regularly in close games and fighting for a European place in the table.

“In the Premier League, the most difficult league in the world, to perform the ways he’s doing in a season where it’s very difficult for every United player and some of the best players are struggling, shows a lot for him,” continued Fabregas. “He plays without fear, and this is what I love about him.”

Although he has made just 18 total Premier League starts, Mainoo is already a massive part of the club. As Fabregas suggested, United needs to make major additions this summer to help surround the teen star with fellow top midfielders. A new contract extension for Mainoo, which is reportedly in the works, would also be advised.