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The Search for a Midfielder

Discussion in 'Transfer Forum' started by MyOnlySolskjaer, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Feb 25, 2019

    Litch Full Member

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    An impossibility but Kante for me. I would pay Pogba money, he's that good....
  2. Feb 25, 2019

    Devil may care Full Member

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    Thanks, that's definitely a more comprehensive video, he doesn't look bad, not outstanding or anything but like Pellegrini, solid enough to be a squad option and offer rotation. Does he have the same kind of cheap buyout clause?

    I haven't seen any changes in the midfield make-up at the biggest clubs, if the team doesn't set up with a DLP then they have a DM and the playmaker(s) are the #8's ahead of him, but the jigsaw pieces are still the same just arranged differently, the top sides don't set up with a set of CM's that are Jack of all trades master of none types, they might have one in the squad sure, but the core pieces of the 1st choice midfield have remained the same.

    Tonali plays at the base of the midfield, the comparisons with Pirlo, who Pogba played brilliantly with, are very apt IMO.

    Possibly, but twice now Ole has had the option to play Ander there and hasn't, maybe I'm wrong but I think he looks at Pogba and Ander and thinks "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" and instead will look at the weakest link in the midfield and look to upgrade that, as opposed to diluting Ander's game and then adding a second box to box. Part of it might also be that Ander has no long game, Matic isn't great at it but his long range passing is quite a bit better than Anders and offers a valuable weapon from deep. Maybe I just rate Ander higher than some do as well, for me he's one of the best box to box CM's in the game right now, I just don't see the value in changing his position when we can just upgrade the holding role.
  3. Feb 25, 2019

    L1nk Full Member

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    Sign Neves from Wolves. Grab Rabiot on a free.
  4. Feb 25, 2019

    JJ12 Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    Neves and/or Ndombele
  5. Feb 25, 2019

    bucky Full Member

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    Perfectly reasonable. IMO it wouldn't dilute Herrera's game though. He has had a number of excellent games as the deepest midfielder for us. He's also played there for Athletic and did well. Where I disagree is that he's one of the best box to box midfielders, as much as I like him and as smart a player that he is, he's still not as good as Thiago, Koke, Saul, Modric, Kroos, Verratti, Kante or Pjanic IMO. I also disagree that we can easily upgrade the holding role. Other than Ruben Neves there are hardly any outstanding options and if I had to choose in terms of priorities, I'd rather see us try with ridiculous offers for Sancho, Dybala or de Ligt than Ruben Neves. If we wouldn't need to fix as many areas, like City for example, I'd be all for it, but we still need to bring in a number of players to compete with the very best consistently and we just won't be able to get all 3 of de Ligt, Sancho and Ruben Neves.
  6. Feb 25, 2019

    Devil may care Full Member

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    Ole mentioned in a presser the other day that Herrera ended up over the left side of the pitch in the game against Chelsea and he had to look at it to see why Ander had done that, he's like Kante, at his best when he has the freedom to hunt the ball and get all around the pitch, when you play as the holder you just cannot do that as you have to remain more rigid as your role is more specific, plus as I mentioned Ander doesn't distribute it great from deep and Allan isn't going to pick up that slack so we'd be still very dependent on Pogba as the only one in midfield with a great range of passing, something PSG exploited.


    you listed 8 players there, now to me if you are top 10 in your position you are still one of the best, however I wouldn't really count Kroos, Pjanic and Thiago as real box to box CM's, they are playmakers, none of them have the grit or steel in their game or the engine that Ander has, and Verratti I'd say is more of a #6, a DLP, overall it's like comparing apples and oranges as their biggest attributes are different IMO, Kante, Saul and Koke are better I'd agree if we are talking like for like skill sets, Modric is on a level above them all as he can do both sides of the game to a very high level.

    As for who you'd rather bring in, I look at our CB's performances and I look at Matic's, all under Ole, and I'd rather a more mobile and better passer in that #6 role than another CB personally, but by what you have written above are you suggesting not strengthening midfield at all? As Allan and Ndombele, the two players I know you want to move Herrera into the #6 for, are going to cost equally as much as Neves.
  7. Feb 26, 2019

    bucky Full Member

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    A more disciplined role doesn't make him a worse player in my eyes, it's just a different one. Allan's passing is probably also better than people give him credit for. Ruben Neves for example hits 6.4 accurate long balls per game, while he also has 4.6 inaccurate ones. Meanwhile Allan averages 3.4 accurate long balls per game to 1.1 inaccurate ones. For comparison Matic has 4.2 accurate longs balls to 1.8 inaccurate ones. Obviously Neves' playstyle is a bit volatile and he'd most likely improve his ratio with us, I just wanted to highlight that Allan's range and ratio is actually quite decent. If you look at xGBuildup, Allan currently has the best figure in Italy with 11.66 in 1740 minutes. He's better than Brozovic, N'Zonzi and Pjanic in that respect. Thiago's figure for comparison is 11.08 in 1430 minutes. Allan also averages the second most passes per game (he has the third best completion rate with 89.5 percent) for Napoli. Again just trying to highlight that despite Sarri leaving the numbers actually show that he's a good passer even under Ancelotti, who's not as rigid with possession football.

    If I had to add two more players then I'd say that Rabiot has been better as well, despite all the nonsense and Allan has been better over the years as well. Herrera unfortunately has had too many injuries. Depending on your definition on Pogba's role, one could probably add him as well. I also don't really care what typ of player a real box to box midfielder is to be honest. Kroos has mostly played in front of Casemiro and not as a holding midfielder, that makes him a #8 for me. You and I have wanted a playmaker for a while, whether that player plays in front of Herrera like Kroos did/does with Casemiro or whether that player plays deeper than Herrera like Jorginho did with Allan, doesn't make any difference to the argument, in my opinion, that there are better players than Herrera in a #8 role. It's not really a slight on him either. Edit: A box-to-box player and #8 is basically the same thing for me, just to clarify.

    I think recently Matic's performances under Ole have been better as well. I don't think there's been much of a difference between his performances and our CBs. Regarding midfield, I think we should definitely look to upgrade and I really want us to, I just don't think Neves has justified breaking the bank for over Sancho and de Ligt, and I also think he's going to cost more than NDombele for example. I don't think for a second that NDombele is going to cost north of 70m, which is what you can expect for Neves IMO. Whether we would actually have a chance to sign Fabian Ruiz or Allan I wouldn't know, I just wanted to mention them, if it were possible. There are simply more options for CB and the #8 role, which makes it easier to upgrade. If there were more alternatives to Neves, who are as good or better (Rodrigo last season) then I probably wouldn't argue for the players I am arguing for. I just think there are a number of players, who would be cheaper than Neves, who happen to play the #8 role and have convinved me a bit more.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  8. Feb 26, 2019

    In Rainbows Full Member

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    Yeah to me these are the different midfield roles

    Destroyer: Kante, Javi Martinez
    Deep lying playmaker: Tonali, Pirlo
    Less mobile #6 or DM: Matic, Busquets, older Carrick
    Box to box: Vidal, Herrera
    #8: Pogba, Iniesta, Pjanic, Thiago, Kovacic
    Mobile #6 or Pivot: Xavi, Modric, Verratti, De Jong

    It's a bit too specific, but I can't help categorizing them like this. Ignore the titles. I'm just making it up on some and some could blend with the others. I believe you can mix and match depending on the defensive or attacking tendencies/flaws of some. For example, Barca had Xavi, backed up with Busquets. Both could be the pivot or a #6, but Busquets was one that released the ball faster and had more of a defensive quality than Xavi, who was more mobile, it made sense to have Busquets slightly behind Xavi. Similarly, De Jong can play as the pivot, but because he's mobile and can dribble he can also have someone shielding him if a manager wants to.

    As for our prospects this is how I would categorize them:
    Destroyer: TFM
    Deep lying playmaker: ?
    DM: Garner
    Box to Box: Traore, Barlow
    #8: Levitt
    Mobile #6: Gomes

    Think Levitt plays that same role as Gomes so I could have put him there with Gomes, but at first team level I think he's going to be more similar to Carrick rather than a Modric in terms of style.
  9. Feb 26, 2019

    The Brown Bull Full Member

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    Declan Rice. It’s a no brainer.
  10. Feb 26, 2019

    Hawks2008 Full Member

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    Ruben Neves is the guy, need to snap him up before someone like City do.
  11. Feb 26, 2019

    Devil may care Full Member

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    I'll be honest mate all these stats tend to lose me off a bit, I still believe more in the eye test because so many stats lack context, for instance you can have a high percentage of forward passes by slipping a 5 yard pass to your fullback who's marginally ahead of you, and it will count the same as if you've hit 5 forward passes 25 yards through the lines to set your winger through, so then we start in with key passes and how they are determined and it becomes maths rather than football to me. I wasn't suggesting Allan was a bad passer but from my viewings of him he's not a playmaker, he's the guy that bodyguard's the playmaker and keeps it tidy, if we make the move yourself and others want of putting Ander as DM then I want a Modric/Thiago/Verratti/Kroos level #8 playmaker added otherwise I just don't see the massive improvement.

    To me the definition of the role of the #8 matters though, as @In Rainbows demonstrates there are so many variables in what your task as a #8 will be depending on the rest of the make-up of the midfield, I am only comparing Ander to players tasked with the same job as him, Koke, Kante, Saul and I think Allan is a fair shout as well for #8's who are better at his specific role, I'd personally disagree on Rabiot as I think mentally he lacks the steel and intelligence Herrera has in the role, I know in a big game away from home which I'd want in my side. We do both want a playmaker and I also don't care if he's the deepest player or in the #8 role, but some of these suggestions are not playmakers IMO, they are players who just do the same job as Ander, great workers who are decent on the ball.

    Fair enough, I think the CB's have really stepped up, Matic for me has definitely stepped up on the ball but his lack of mobility and stamina is still a big issue against better teams who press. Take Sancho out of it for a moment as his price is going to be way above any of the other players we are talking about here, de Jong went for £70M with £10M add-ons I think? We'd be looking at that for de Ligt, maybe even more as he's younger and Ajax's Captain. As far as Ndombele and Allan go, word was PSG were quoted £80M for Allan and I don't see Ndombele going for less than £65M in this market, so at that point we are quibbling over £5M-10M difference between him and Neves? Unless you are thinking Wolves really will want over £80M then yeah, I'd back off then as we'd be nearing the point where we might as well just activate Rodri's buyout and see if he fancies coming here. :D
  12. Feb 26, 2019

    Devil may care Full Member

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    Agreed, the definition of the #8 and the #6 in the modern game in particular is broken up into sub genres so to speak, the role differs from team to team and the key to getting your midfield right is balancing the specific roles out from the options you have, you need complimentary players in the unit.

    As for where those United players from the Academy would slot in, I've not seen much of some of them, TFM if he did have a role could be the pure DM destroyer if he learned some discipline, although I think there are huge doubts over whether he's good enough for United period. I've not seen Garner play but I thought he was considered in the mold of Carrick, more of a DLP than a DM? I saw Levitt described as a budget Verratti the other day but I've only seen brief highlights of him. Gomes is the one I've seen the most of and although I am obviously not making a direct comparison I'd liken him most to an Iniesta style #8.
  13. Feb 26, 2019

    MikeKing Full Member

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    Yes. I agree. Anything is possible if you just throw money at it, and Kante is worth spending that money on because you are then guaranteed to get what you are paying for.
    Pogba
    Kante-Herrera​
    That is so insanely good for the type of football we want to play, and especially efficient for the big games. We would press the shit out of teams to win the ball back immediately and be very hard to attack against. So much pace and tenacity. Then you would have Garner, Matic or even Gomes if you needed more playmaking from deep in the side. Pogba could even play deeper without any worry with those guys around to protect him. Like an interchanging fluid midfield.
  14. Feb 26, 2019

    bucky Full Member

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    I have been using various stats sites for years now and while they all don't present the whole picture, it usually stacks up fairly well and matches the eye test. Meaning the stats usually correspond with who the best players are (which they obviously should, otherwise what would be the point). I've seen the same trend with xG, xGChain and xGBuildup. Mostly I am using them to highlight a somewhat objective point of view that's different to my own, because just taking my word for it or just presenting my opinion for something isn't always a worthwhile discussion in my eyes. I could further annoy you with numbers that Allan and Kante are more than destroyers, but I am going to stop now. :wenger: (Allan's role this season has changed a fair bit, under Sarri he averaged 46.6, 39.6 and 51.9 passes per game, under Ancelotti he's averaging 65.4 passes per game, he has a better completion rate this season than in any season under Sarri, while he also attempts and completes more long balls per game, despite Napoli having overall less possession than in previous seasons, which shouldn't be surprising)

    I do think Wolverhampton would want as much, because that's just the going rate between EPL clubs IMO (Maguire). Whereas Lyon were willing to part with Fekir for a little over 50m, if I remember it correctly. Fekir overall has been a more impressive player than NDombele, so I don't think Lyon would ask for that much more. Obviously no two players are the same, but Aulas always talks a good game, but he'd be fairly reasonable, I'd think. Could obviously be wrong.
  15. Feb 26, 2019

    Name Changed weso26

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    This.
  16. Feb 26, 2019

    SS Full Member

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    That midfield would still have the problem of Pogba being the only real creative force.
  17. Feb 26, 2019

    MikeKing Full Member

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    In the wrong set up it is a potentially huge problem, but in the right setup the upside is tremendous. Obviously you could drop either of these guys for tactical reasons in certain games. However, the reason Pogba is our big creative force is because we want him to be, but this only becomes a problem because its easy to shut down when we have no players offering anything on the right side. Doesn't have to be a deep midfielder that provides that creative outlet. I think a supporting midfield like this would give a lot of freedom to a player like Pogba, so if we could fix our right side with a pacy, creative winger like Sancho, those two signings would slot right in and reinforce what we are already good at under Ole.
  18. Feb 26, 2019

    quackattack Full Member

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    Pick up Arne Maier before Bayern does.
    Neves would be a good option too, but could cost a lot more. On the plus side he is used to the PL.
    Can Ndidi be a potential work horse on the middle?
    Thomas Delaney is a great midtfielder too, but maybe he dosn't want to leave Germany?
    What about Van De Beek?

    I know I listed quite a few, and not people like "Casemiro, Kanté, Bosquets" pretty much because I don't think it's any use to even try and get them to the club (But who knows). These guys are also playing in different positions and have very different qualities on and off the ball too. But we are going for squad width anyways, right?
  19. Feb 26, 2019

    redtony New Member

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    When I speak to my Wolves pals, they say that Neves is super talented but Moutinho is the more talented player overall.

    I think they're both great, but surely there is someone better out there.
  20. Feb 26, 2019

    Escobar Poster originally known as Michel04

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    Why is he rated so highly? Never seen or heard much
  21. Feb 26, 2019

    Inigo Montoya Leave Wayne Rooney alone!!

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    For a kid, he's very mature and has a good intelligent head on him. He's already ahead of Dier IMO.

    There's also Sean Longstaff at Newcastle. Looks very impressive
  22. Feb 26, 2019

    Gordon S New Member

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    Neves gets loads of love in here!

    Have only watched Wolves a handful of games this season but i haven’t been THAT impressed by him to be honest. Apart from the odd fantastic longrange pass i think he looks, well, perhaps not average but not exactly wc either. He is still young so could still improve of course.

    But do you all believe he is the guy to take us up another level?
  23. Feb 26, 2019

    onemanarmy Full Member

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    Moutinho is 32, how can you compare him with a 21 year old guy?
  24. Feb 26, 2019

    IrishRedDevil Full Member

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    He is not big 'name' yet and it is still early days, but I like what I have seen from Sean Longstaff.
  25. Feb 26, 2019

    JJ12 Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    He's 10 years older with a lot more experience.

    I love the looks of Neves - hope we go for him.
  26. Feb 26, 2019

    GledTheRed Full Member

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    Longstaff has looked great.
  27. Feb 26, 2019

    Lash Full Member

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    Yep, agree with the Longstaff posts, he's slotted straight into the prem. Big, imposing lad as well.
  28. Feb 26, 2019

    SSSSnake Full Member

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    Rice for me to cover Matic. The sky is the limit for this kid. Also I would love Neves being he's only 21 and can control/dictate the midfield.
  29. Feb 26, 2019

    Litch Full Member

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    Agree. There are other options Im sure but must admit sooner buy proven Prem quality than the lottery of buying outside of it waiting for them to come good after a couple of seasons.
  30. Feb 26, 2019

    reddaz71 Banned

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    Would love to see Utd throw big money at Chelsea for Kante, especially if they miss out on CL qualification!
  31. Feb 26, 2019

    mediocentr0 Banned

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    Mata becomes 31 pretty soon. Julian Brandt will be available for €25M (release clause) this Summer. He has a good touch on the ball and vision and can also score. He used to play as a winger a lot, but Bosz says Brandt is a central midfielder. It´s a situation like Schweinsteiger and van Gaal back in the days. Basti used to play as a winger and became really good, when van Gaal put him in central midfield. Another very talented young german midfielder is Kai Havertz.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2019
  32. Feb 26, 2019

    davidmichael Full Member

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    Sign Rabiot on a free which would give us Rabiot, Pogba, Matic, Herrera, Pereira, McTominay, Fred and Garner when needed. I’d let Neves and Rice both have another season of Premier League football seeing as it’s both players first full season at this level then sign one of them in the summer of 2020 to replace Matic.

    Rabiot can play either Herrera’s or Matic’s role as can McTominay and on a free is surely a no brainer, if he’s good enough for Barca to have been after him all season then he’s good enough for us and a free gives us money for the priority positions like a right sided forward.
  33. Feb 26, 2019

    Devil may care Full Member

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    I accuse you of statistical murder good sir! :lol: I'm not saying Allan and Kante are pure destroyers but for me neither are playmakers, certainly not in a side where the other CM is Ander, maybe I just want a midfield we can't get but I want to add another creative passer with great range in his game to the midfield, as well as a creative forward, I don't want more players who's biggest assets are ground coverage and speed, I feel we have enough of that for now, Pogba needs some help with the craft and guile side of things.

    In the case of Fekir though he's older and has a poor injury history with one very bad one, I think that lowers the price, Ndombele is only 22 with his star on the rise, we paid £50M for Fred who has less experience in a top league and is older, so I think Lyon would want at least £60M for Ndombele and in truth I don't think we'd be any better of a side with him in the #8 and Andrer moved to the #6, as right now I think Ander is a better #8 than Ndombele and Matic is a better #6 than Ander.
  34. Feb 26, 2019

    Devil may care Full Member

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    The problem is he wants ludicrous wages and a signing on fee and has a very petulant attitude, not sure we want that in our squad, on top of that you say he can play the Matic role but he's been very specific about the fact he doesn't want to play that role, it was one of his complaints at PSG, he's a good midfielder but the baggage is heavy with him.
  35. Feb 26, 2019

    Lash Full Member

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    Have been impressed with Brandt whenever I've seen him, I didn't realise he's moved to a CM role, that's interesting. Got Liverpool written all over him though, think they tried for him a few seasons ago.
  36. Feb 26, 2019

    Rozay Master of Hindsight

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    Don’t want Neves. A defensive midfielder who is of little use out of possession is of little use altogether I think.
  37. Feb 26, 2019

    JJ12 Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    He's not a defensive midfielder. He's a midfielder who controls the game - something we definitely need. He's quality and young. Hopefully we are in for him.
  38. Feb 26, 2019

    Fosu-Mens Full Member

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    He is far better(dangerous for both teams?) on the ball compared to Matic and Herrera. The same can be said about most of our other proposed targets. SportingCP basically got Trumph as their club president so difficult to know. May change from day to day, but in general they do not have the £££ to hold out for big sums like the other two big clubs in Portugal. Saw somewhere (think it was a non-trusting source) that he would cost 70-80m euros. Do not think this is the case.

    Difference between us and the other big clubs is that they already have a system, a team and a relatively set playing style: Barca, Bayern Real etc. We only have the blueprint. So we are only at the beginning and should test different make-ups.
    With the balanced players i'm not meaning master of none, i'm saying not sh*t at anything. If the players are extremely good at something this would be a positive, but they should not be incompetent at anything.
    Pogba: Can play most roles, can perform most tasks etc. One of the most complete players. Ideal midfielder(if he was a little more agile).
    So you would have a midfield consisting of 3 balanced players, but with different main assets: One is a passer, the other is a presser and the last is a playmaker.

    And we should not compare Juventus and MUFC. Different system, different players, different league. Could potentially work if we benchmark that Juventus team to the extreme, but Tonali does not yet have the range and understanding that Pirlo had.
  39. Feb 26, 2019

    Adnan Full Member

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    He's been average in the EPL from what I've heard from Wolves fans. But him being average won't stop our fans wanting him to replace Matic.
  40. Feb 26, 2019

    Rozay Master of Hindsight

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    So who would he replace? People seem to want to take the player out of our midfield who has the job of defending, and replace him with one that can’t. Because he can pass. Tbh, people seem to want to even replace central defenders who are good at defending with ones that aren’t because they can pass so I guess it’s only natural in midfield.

    Neves can’t defend. He should not replace the one midfielder who can. If I could find another Matic I’d be happy. Perhaps one with more legs (and Matic has more legs than Neves!). Chelsea are currently suffering from replacing their defensive midfielder with a non-defensive (but great passing) one.