Are we a CDM short of being an elite team?

Bastian

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I guess there are a few threads on whether our midfield is good enough or which midfielders we should buy, but quite a few posters are questioning whether Bruno and Pogba can be used in the same team effectively (not just in certain games).

Fitting them both in has become quite troublesome of late, what with Pogba playing as a left forward with Rashford shunted out to right wing. Seems there should definitely be a better way of utilising the quality at hand.

It started out quite well with a midfield three of Herrera, Matic and Pogba. Herrera left the summer after Ole took over, and Matic has declined. The following season Ole really used a number of different combinations of three from McTominay, Pogba, Fred, Matic and Pereira in a 433. Ole also tried out the 4231 when Pogba got injured, probably after realising Pereira doesn't function in a midfield three, so he went for McTominay and Fred, with Pereira as a #10 (and sometimes Jesse). Soon after that diabolical spell, Pogba returned briefly and then we bought Bruno. Bruno was played as an #8 in one half, and #10 in the other. After that it was all 4231 with Bruno at #10.

Have we seen Ole settle on a formation or is he still tinkering, trying to figure out the best approach? Do people think a 433 (4123 out of possession) will work and not detract too much from Bruno, who is then effectively called up to do Ander's old role? Is it tactically feasible to adopt Pep's strategy in possession with a full back joining midfield (is that part of the appeal with Trippier)?

What are we expecting?
 

Pexbo

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I honestly think we will go into next season with the same midfield. I think he will strengthen at CB, RB, RW and ST and CM/CDM will be worked on for next summer.
 

Bastian

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I honestly think we will go into next season with the same midfield. I think he will strengthen at CB, RB, RW and ST and CM/CDM will be worked on for next summer.
You think we'll get another striker (+ Sancho) before addressing midfield? I'm thinking it will be 3 players, Trippier, a defender not called Varane, and Sancho. If I'm being realistic. But I would expect a midfielder ahead of a striker though.

Also, I wonder if Mejbri will be unleashed if Pogba goes, and whether Garner gets a chance here next season. He definitely seems to have a lot more potential to be that type of midfielder we require than Fred and McTominay (both of whom I like, especially the latter).
 

drunkmonkmeth

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Watching pogba today he plays so different for france... at united he dabbles on the ball and tries to dribble when he shouldnt.. maybe its because people arent making themselves availiable. Today he did dribble out of some tight spots.. also showed great defense but he was releasing the ball quick. With that being said.. a real talented cdm must be top priority.. if we can get someone like kante along side pogba and bruno wed be the best mid in europe.
 

Foxbatt

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Watching pogba today he plays so different for france... at united he dabbles on the ball and tries to dribble when he shouldnt.. maybe its because people arent making themselves availiable. Today he did dribble out of some tight spots.. also showed great defense but he was releasing the ball quick. With that being said.. a real talented cdm must be top priority.. if we can get someone like kante along side pogba and bruno wed be the best mid in europe.
This is a very valid point. If players are not available in the right space, he would dabble on the ball. McTominay is famous for not being available for any pass. We should have paid even over the odds and got Kante, when Lampard was having issues with him.
 

Freak

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Watching pogba today he plays so different for france... at united he dabbles on the ball and tries to dribble when he shouldnt.. maybe its because people arent making themselves availiable. Today he did dribble out of some tight spots.. also showed great defense but he was releasing the ball quick. With that being said.. a real talented cdm must be top priority.. if we can get someone like kante along side pogba and bruno wed be the best mid in europe.
To be fair, let's see if he can do this sort of performances consistently throughout the tournament. One of the criticisms United fans have with him is he's never been consistent during his time here.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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I can only imagine he'll continue with his default formation, which is the 4231. It has a good structure, gets the best out of our most productive player and it has a good balance, both going forward and defensively.

What we do need is to slightly upgrade our players, which ultimately as a manager, is something you should be looking to be doing every season.

I personally believe we could do with a controlling midfielder to go next to Fred or McTominay, meaning we can permanently move Pogba into the left attacking midfield position.

Cavani/Greenwood
Pogba/Rashford - Bruno/Van De Beek - Sancho/Amad
New Midfielder/Garner* - Fred/McTominay​

*Depending on how Garner gets on during pre-season, I'd get him involved as our fourth-choice midfielder and use him similar to how Chelsea have used Gilmour.

I think moving towards wide playmakers, as opposed to wingers, will really increase our creativity.
 

meamth

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Watching pogba today he plays so different for france... at united he dabbles on the ball and tries to dribble when he shouldnt.. maybe its because people arent making themselves availiable. Today he did dribble out of some tight spots.. also showed great defense but he was releasing the ball quick. With that being said.. a real talented cdm must be top priority.. if we can get someone like kante along side pogba and bruno wed be the best mid in europe.
Well, you have Kante (Kante = 2x Midfielders) covering him, plus Rabiot who runs a lot. Of course he will flourish in that setup.

The problem with McTominay is he isn't mobile like Fred, we need another Fred-like midfielder and Pogba will flourish.
 

Apokalips

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Well, you have Kante (Kante = 2x Midfielders) covering him, plus Rabiot who runs a lot. Of course he will flourish in that setup.

The problem with McTominay is he isn't mobile like Fred, we need another Fred-like midfielder and Pogba will flourish.
A big problem is the lack of movement our forward line provides. Cavani and Zlatan are the only forwards we've had for ages that are consistently able to get in behind or stretch things with intelligent movement. If there are quality runs being made then Paul and Bruno will get more space to move the ball about.

Our whole team in general plays at a laboured pace to be honest, just look at the cup final and how slow our speed of movement was and compare it to late game under Fergie where it would be an onslaught.
 

devilish

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Pogba and VDB will probably leave. We will promote Garner, we keep Jesse and Mata + we might sign Rice.

DM: Rice, Fred
MC: McT, Garner
AMC: Bruno, Jesse
 

hubbuh

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Pogba and VDB will probably leave. We will promote Garner, we keep Jesse and Mata + we might sign Rice.

DM: Rice, Fred
MC: McT, Garner
AMC: Bruno, Jesse
Very much doubt we'll spend £80m odd on Sancho and then near enough the same again on Rice. The Glazers aren't that desperate to make amends.
 

devilish

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Very much doubt we'll spend £80m odd on Sancho and then near enough the same again on Rice. The Glazers aren't that desperate to make amends.
VDB would be sold for 30m and Pogba will fetch 30-40m
 

hubbuh

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VDB would be sold for 30m and Pogba will fetch 30-40m
Assuming that did happen, I'm not convinced Rice is the best option for 70m. Can't see many options out there to be fair, but 70m is a feck load.
 

DJ_21

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VDB would be sold for 30m and Pogba will fetch 30-40m
If we sell pogba for 30-40m then that’s ridiculous. He’s worth way more and although he doesn’t always show it, the owners will never sell him that cheap. I’d take an exchange though for Varane/Ronaldo
 

Andrew7582

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VDB would be sold for 30m and Pogba will fetch 30-40m
The only offers we'll get for VDB will be loan with option to buy, and big clubs are simply going to wait for Pogba's contract to run down. We are not getting those fees this window.
 

devilish

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Assuming that did happen, I'm not convinced Rice is the best option for 70m. Can't see many options out there to be fair, but 70m is a feck load.
Rice-McT/Fred duo will be painful to watch. However it is in line to Ole's vision
 

devilish

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If we sell pogba for 30-40m then that’s ridiculous. He’s worth way more and although he doesn’t always show it, the owners will never sell him that cheap. I’d take an exchange though for Varane/Ronaldo
He's got just few months left in his contract
 

devilish

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We’ll know what they are asking for Varane, who is far less marketable than Pogba. I’ll bet it’s not £30 million.
Pogba is guided by Mino. If we keeps him against his will then he will ruin our season. I'd say we would be lucky if we get 50m
 

hobbers

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He'll very likely do absolutely nothing.

If anything he'll buy Rice for double his worth and then rotate two out him, Fred and McTominay.
 

Teja

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I don't think he'll do anything if Pogba stays.

Pogba + One of McFred is going to be our starting midfield next year and

------------------ Cavani -------------------
-- Rashford -- Bruno -- Sancho --
-------------- Fred -- Pogba -------------

is good enough to challenge City.
 

Dan_F

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Pogba is guided by Mino. If we keeps him against his will then he will ruin our season. I'd say we would be lucky if we get 50m
There’s no real benefit to us keeping him against his will. He’ll sign a new contract or go, and I reckon we’ll fork out to keep him under contract. £50 million would be a fair price, same as £40 should be the price for Varane.

We will 100% have a midfielder ready to bring in if we get indications that he isn’t going to sign.
 

BoltonWanderer

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The most logical step for United is to work on Pogba being part of a two in midfield. He has a lot of the skills you need but he's never been disciplined enough to pull it off, so can he improve in that position, even if it's just against lesser teams?

United will need to sign an improvement to McTominay and Fred in that scenario though, you can't play either alongside Pogba, it needs a dedicated, high quality defensive midfielder.

Maybe an option would be to play two strikers and Fernandes just behind them? So something like:

McTominay - Fred - Pogba
__________Fernandes
___Greenwood - Cavani

The issue there is then the lack of width, but if Rashford played instead of Cavani, him and Greenwood could drift out to provide that.

I don't think there's a simple answer to the problem. Pogba is best in a midfield 3, Fernandes is best as a 10, Rashford and Greenwood are better coming from out wide...it's not ideal. It reminds me of the dilemma posed at Arsenal when they signed Ozil despite Cazorla having a great season the year prior.
 

Andrew7582

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The most logical step for United is to work on Pogba being part of a two in midfield. He has a lot of the skills you need but he's never been disciplined enough to pull it off, so can he improve in that position, even if it's just against lesser teams?
He has been back at united 5 seasons since returning, I think we have seen enough by now to know that it will not work.
 

devilish

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There’s no real benefit to us keeping him against his will. He’ll sign a new contract or go, and I reckon we’ll fork out to keep him under contract. £50 million would be a fair price, same as £40 should be the price for Varane.

We will 100% have a midfielder ready to bring in if we get indications that he isn’t going to sign.
I bet the guy will be Rice
 

sp_107

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I don't think he'll do anything if Pogba stays.

Pogba + One of McFred is going to be our starting midfield next year and

------------------ Cavani -------------------
-- Rashford -- Bruno -- Sancho --
-------------- Fred -- Pogba -------------

is good enough to challenge City.

Didnt we learn anything ? |Fred or MC|Tominay cant cover Pogba/Bruno. It didnt work, We need someone like Kante if you want to play Pogba and Bruno in midfiled of 3.
 

devilish

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Ugh. I'm pinning my hopes on something a bit more adventurous happening, dev.
I think that Ole likes an old fashioned type of football with the wingers, no 10 and the striker doing the creative part while the others doing the heavy lifting. He would want the ball to move from defence to attack as quickly as possible
 

Teja

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Didnt we learn anything ? |Fred or MC|Tominay cant cover Pogba/Bruno. It didnt work, We need someone like Kante if you want to play Pogba and Bruno in midfiled of 3.
Fred is basically a slightly worse Kante in terms of defensive output. The goal is to not mimic Deschamps' system or we'd have to drop one of our attackers for another midfielder to cover behind Pogba.
 

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Don’t really think he’ll do anything with it. Have we even been linked to a midfielder? Not saying that means we won’t sign one but you can usually identify who were after just by how persistent the links are. Seems like we’re in for Sancho, Trippier and a centre back. That could be us done.
 

Bilbo

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Its always been a tendency of the Cafe to believe that any player over 20 won't improve any more. I dont think we'll sign a midfielder this summer and I'm fine with that as long as we strengthen the areas that need it more.

Scott McTominay is improving all the time and he will continue to do so. He might not end up being the long term answer but he might be and he deserves the chance. Whenever I watch the likes of Rice I never really see them do anything that we don't see from our own midfielders. It's the Champ Manager generations view of what consistutes balance within a team. 'Bruno AM, Pogba box-to-box, so we must need a CDM for balance'.

We are better at controlling games than we were 2 years ago. Much better. We see plenty of evidence of that, even against the top sides we face. We rarely lose games. Adding a Sancho and a quality centre back with pace will improve this team for next season more than redesigning our midfield will IMO
 

hubbuh

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I think that Ole likes an old fashioned type of football with the wingers, no 10 and the striker doing the creative part while the others doing the heavy lifting. He would want the ball to move from defence to attack as quickly as possible
Everything we've seen so far suggests that is exactly the case. The fact we started Pereira in that position on multiple occasions when Pogba was injured is testament to that. Maybe he's just lacking that defensively minded lynchpin to tie it all together.
 

devilish

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Its always been a tendency of the Cafe to believe that any player over 20 won't improve any more. I dont think we'll sign a midfielder this summer and I'm fine with that as long as we strengthen the areas that need it more.

Scott McTominay is improving all the time and he will continue to do so. He might not end up being the long term answer but he might be and he deserves the chance. Whenever I watch the likes of Rice I never really see them do anything that we don't see from our own midfielders. It's the Champ Manager generations view of what consistutes balance within a team. 'Bruno AM, Pogba box-to-box, so we must need a CDM for balance'.

We are better at controlling games than we were 2 years ago. Much better. We see plenty of evidence of that, even against the top sides we face. We rarely lose games. Adding a Sancho and a quality centre back with pace will improve this team for next season more than redesigning our midfield will IMO
I wouldn't sign Rice myself. Having said that my opinion is irrelevant. Pogba is probably leaving and VDB seems not trusted by the Ole camp. If the two leave then I can see Ole going for Rice.
 

marktan

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I don't think he'll do anything if Pogba stays.

Pogba + One of McFred is going to be our starting midfield next year and

------------------ Cavani -------------------
-- Rashford -- Bruno -- Sancho --
-------------- Fred -- Pogba -------------

is good enough to challenge City.
I don't think it is. We've played very similar (minus Sancho) plenty of times, and teams that sit back we struggle to break down. Sancho is not a player who will massively change that. Likewise playing Pogba as one of the 2 holding midfielders never works, he's not defensive at all, so leads us vulnerable in midfield when we try to atttack, and worse forces Pogba to play in our own half rather than the final third. He does like to try to take players on when there's no pass on, I'd much rather that be done in the final third than in the midfield.

Really France play quite a different system to us.

When Pogba attacks, both Rabiot (Matuidi in the past) and Kante can cover. At United, only Fred would cover as Bruno is the AM. At France, they actually don't mind at all dropping deep and defending with their attackers, because it lets their pacey forwards counter attack and in Pogba they have someone who can hit laser passes. United only play that way against the likes of City, and we tend to do well against them as Rashford and Greenwood work as a budget version of Mbappe and Griezmann. But against the majority of the teams in the league, we have more of the ball, and teams defend with two banks of four. In that scenario, it gets very congested meaning Pogba rarely has a pass on, and if he goes forward teams look to hit us on the counter due to a lack of midfield defense. Really the better setup would be a DM + one of Fred/Mctominay (box to box) + one of Bruno/Pogba.
 

Bilbo

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I wouldn't sign Rice myself. Having said that my opinion is irrelevant. Pogba is probably leaving and VDB seems not trusted by the Ole camp. If the two leave then I can see Ole going for Rice.
I dont see Pogba leaving this summer, and even if he does I think there are far better value options than Rice out there.
 

RUCK4444

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Just buy a top DM to partner Pogba.

It may be an alien concept to some but aside from an ancient Matic we have no actual DM.
 

davidmichael

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Obviously Kante is the best midfielder in the world at what he does BUT yesterday was just another example that Pogba CAN play the same role for us that he does for France, it’s simply a case of putting the right player alongside him in other for him to play there.

If we end up with a front four of Cavani, Sancho, Fernandes and Rashford we have a front four as good as anyone in world football so it’s not a case of Pogba not having the players in front of him like he does for France in Mbappe, Benzema and Griezmann so it’s clear the problem is who’s alongside him which is McTominay, Fred or Matic.