Despite showing glimpses of potential, Manchester United ultimately began their Champions League campaign with a 3-4 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
This was their third straight defeat in all competitions and with the club languishing in 12th position in the Premier League table, the pressure is mounting on Erik ten Hag.
Injuries and off-field issues are playing a major role in this difficult period as the manager is without quite a few of his starting players, with Ten Hag claiming that he has hardly ever got the chance to pick his best XI due to injuries.
One of the biggest problem areas has been the midfield with Casemiro under-performing massively in the new campaign while the manager has failed to find a suitable partner for him.
United’s midfield woes
The Brazilian grabbed a brace against the Bundesliga champions but defensively, he cannot handle the opposition on his own and needs more support.
Mason Mount was tried in that position but he played too far up the pitch, leaving Casemiro too isolated and susceptible to counter-attacks.
While Christian Eriksen has fixed that issue somewhat, he massively struggles while doing off-the-ball defensive work as he just does not have the legs anymore.
Scott McTominay is not the manager’s favourite and he has not covered himself in glory during his limited opportunities so far this season.
They are yet to join team training, suggesting their return is still some time away.
Looking at Casemiro and Eriksen’s age, United should ideally be looking to the future in terms of their next batch of midfield recruits and Tutto Juve have claimed that is exactly what the Red Devils are doing.
At one point, United were chasing Moises Caicedo and had the option of signing him for a meagre amount but that did not pan out and he has since completed a record-breaking move to Chelsea in the summer.
But United might have learned their lesson and are targeting the Ecuadorian’s successor, Oscar Zambrano, who currently plays for Ecuadorian side LDU Quito.
The 19-year-old is a talented defensive midfielder, who is being eyed by teams like Juventus, Barcelona, with the Bianconeri eyeing a January swoop.
He has been described as a “modern holding midfielder” with strong tackling and an eye for a pass among his strongest attributes.
Latest South American star on United’s radar
“Manchester United are ready to fight with Barcelona and Juventus for the services of 19-year-old South American Oscar Zambrano.
“The 19-year-old defensive midfielder is a great prospect for the future and there is serious interest from European clubs in his services. The Bianconeri could also sign him in January and give him experience in the Under 23s.”
He is a rough diamond and needs further polishing and while he might not be a readymade solution, considering how much United have rued the decision to not go after Caicedo, trying to sign Zambrano seems a good idea.
Liga de Quito’s director Esteban Paz had revealed to Radio Cobertura (via Tribal Football) that they had received “important bids from Ajax and Luton but the bonuses were not convenient.”
United will need to hurry and be on their toes if they are to capture this latest South American gem.