A new report by The Athletic claims that Manchester United need to by a holding midfielder in this transfer window if they want to be able to compete for the Premier League title.
In a thorough analysis of all 20 teams entitled ‘What does your team still need in the transfer window?’, the outlet singles out the number six role as the missing link at Old Trafford.
‘It was back in 2019 when The Athletic’s Michael Cox wrote that every Big Six side is best defined by whomever plays as the deepest midfielder — nearly two years later, Manchester United are still to upgrade their options in the No 6 position as none of their current candidates have evolved to title-winning quality,’ reporter Carl Anka argues.
‘This summer has seen conversation around manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s intention to move away from the comfort blanket “McFred” double pivot of last season and towards a 4-3-3 shape, but there’s still work to be done.
‘Against Leeds in Saturday’s season-opening win, Scott McTominay was impressive as a simple passing pivot and while Fred got himself the decorative fifth goal for his side, United will likely need an upgrade at No 6 if they wish to mount a proper title challenge this season.’
As things stand, it looks unlikely that Anka will get his wish in the next fortnight.
Solskjaer’s dream number six signing would be the Hammers’ Declan Rice, but he has been priced out of a move by the London club.
Wolves’ Ruben Neves has been touted as an option but there does not seem to be any momentum to the rumours in that regard.
Another top class option, Manuel Locatelli, has been snapped up by Juventus this week.
Rennes’ teenage prodigy Eduardo Camavinga remains a possibility. Whilst capable of playing a more advanced or box-to-box role, the Frenchman is a very capable defensive midfielder.
The French club’s head coach Bruno Genesio admitted recently that it is ‘inconceivable’ that the player will be allowed to run down his contract and leave for free next summer, suggesting that he will be sold in this window.
Various reports have claimed Camavinga would prefer a move to either Spain or France, with agent Jonathan Barnett pushing for a Premier League move.