Declan Rice

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Great argument. Why is that utter bollucks? There are probably 30-40 central midfielders in the premiership better on the ball than Fred, I think he is awful on the ball to be honest. I think he is better off the ball
Honestly mate, if you think Rice is CONSIDERABLY better on the ball than Fred, you’re smoking something that the po po wouldn’t let you sell on.
 

jesperjaap

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I think Ole is smart enough to realize we are a much better team with Pogba in the front 4, there's no benefit in removing him to play Rashford, it creates a huge inbalance with Bruno as the only real creator and 3 forwards around him, Rashford needs to get used to competing for the RW with Mason as Pogba offers us much more guile and control in attack and it helps Bruno as they can't double mark him.



Fair enough mate, I've never been impressed with Rice on the ball but I'm sick to death of McFred starting all of the time, so regardless of how much better I'm willing to concede he's better than them both overall.

I think we need a CB and two midfielders but with the re-signing of Bailly I don't see us getting one this summer as I don't think Axel will be sold, I just hope one of those two gets an opportunity alongside Maguire next season. I'd rather keep Pogba and cement a front 4 of him, Bruno, Cavani/Martial and Greenwood/Rashford, and invest in 2 midfielders this summer, an outlay of £100M should get the quality required and the sales of De Gea and Lingard will offset some of the expenditure.
Yes I think Pogba also is probably better on the left than Rashford....though partly that is current form. I still think when he is on form Rashford is excellent on the left, whether that is injury problems or not, he just doesnt seem consistent enough though to me and when he isnt....he seems to wander about rather than running at players. Its a tough one as although I agree, I would probably still sell Pogba.

Well my only problems personally signing Rice are the price and that he is similar to Fred and McTominay, but as you say he offers far more defensively, I think his positioning and spotting runners is excellent, similar to Carrick in his latter years here. I alsothink he offers more in consistency of passing than the other two. I would like us to sign him but only if we are selling Fred or McTominay (Fred definatley for me), which I dont see us doing, I dont think we need the three of them.

I think our targets should really depend hugely on who we are selling. I would be very happy for us to be signing Grealish and Rice but only if we are selling Pogba, VDB, Fred for example. As I dont see that happening I think we should be looking more in to the likes of Sancho and Camavinga. Also of course Cavani situation will have a huge bearing on our activity this summer. Centre back still a huge thing for me personalyl if we are to challenge for titles. In all honesty any two or three signings of those kind of players would be good this summer.
 

golden_blunder

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Which is a perfectly fine opinion to hold. No idea why you’d then start pretending Ballack outclassed him, refusing to hold your hands up about that being utterly incorrect and then making out he only played great once.

Weird way of trying to make your argument.

Annnnnyway, your opinion on Rice? Mine is that I can’t believe there’s now 110 pages on a good player, and that gb seems so desperate for it to be 111 pages, especially when there’s zero chance of WHU selling at a price we’d pay.
You don’t half talk a load of old bollox
 

jesperjaap

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I could make the same argument about Kimmich last season. How does it make Keane exponentionally superior to Kimmich?
Personally think they are both brilliant. Kimmich would have been the perfect signing for us the last few years if only possible. I think the most telling thing is that Bayern really didnt miss Lahm at all either at full back or central midfield.

I would say Kimmich is 26, Keane was fantastic for well over a decade, so it is too early to compare. I do think Keane was actually under rated as a player by many fans though technically. He had a very good first touch and though he played it quite simple, his weight of pass was always spot on pretty much. One thing I like about Kimmich is he is one of a minority of modern central midfielders that are truly box to box. Seems to me in many positions a lot of modern day footballers are either pretty weak defensively or attacking.....Keane wasnt and that is rare, lets face it we were lucky to have three exceptional players of that ilk in a row in Robson, Ince and Keane......we havent ever replaced them since with players anywhere close to that quality all round. Keane was undoubtedly world class for me as a player let alone a leader, so is Kimmich
 

jesperjaap

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Where did I say Ballack outclassed him?

I would rather pass on Rice due to his ability not matching up with the reported price tag.
Though I kind of agree, lets be honest, if we followed that thought we would not sign anybody in the premiership as there is hardly a deal on paper that has looked value for money on any of the up and coming or top players in the league.

I do think the price tag is prohibitive, especially when there are I feel quite a lot of very talented midfielders around Europe that would cost half the price. I do think it has to be considered that he is English, the right age, has leadership qualities which we really need, is still improving a lot season upon season so I think can still get a lot better within the next couple of years....so in the long term it isnt as bad a deal price wise as it looks.

Only reason I wouldnt sign him myself is that we wont be selling Fred or McTominay and though I think he is better than both and adds a lot more defensively especially....it doesnt really change our options in midfield much, that the only reason for me as Fred and Lingard sold and £30m odd for Rice, I would be happy with myself
 

Adnan

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Personally think they are both brilliant. Kimmich would have been the perfect signing for us the last few years if only possible. I think the most telling thing is that Bayern really didnt miss Lahm at all either at full back or central midfield.

I would say Kimmich is 26, Keane was fantastic for well over a decade, so it is too early to compare. I do think Keane was actually under rated as a player by many fans though technically. He had a very good first touch and though he played it quite simple, his weight of pass was always spot on pretty much. One thing I like about Kimmich is he is one of a minority of modern central midfielders that are truly box to box. Seems to me in many positions a lot of modern day footballers are either pretty weak defensively or attacking.....Keane wasnt and that is rare, lets face it we were lucky to have three exceptional players of that ilk in a row in Robson, Ince and Keane......we havent ever replaced them since with players anywhere close to that quality all round. Keane was undoubtedly world class for me as a player let alone a leader, so is Kimmich
Completely agree mate. Good post.
 

Lash

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This thread has taken a weird turn.

I'm a pretty staunch in my opposition of this signing for the prices quoted, but would happily take a gamble on something like £30m (including what we can get for Lingard). If he doesn't work out at DM, I think he'd be a cracking CB.
 

Devil may care

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Yes I think Pogba also is probably better on the left than Rashford....though partly that is current form. I still think when he is on form Rashford is excellent on the left, whether that is injury problems or not, he just doesnt seem consistent enough though to me and when he isnt....he seems to wander about rather than running at players. Its a tough one as although I agree, I would probably still sell Pogba.

Well my only problems personally signing Rice are the price and that he is similar to Fred and McTominay, but as you say he offers far more defensively, I think his positioning and spotting runners is excellent, similar to Carrick in his latter years here. I alsothink he offers more in consistency of passing than the other two. I would like us to sign him but only if we are selling Fred or McTominay (Fred definatley for me), which I dont see us doing, I dont think we need the three of them.

I think our targets should really depend hugely on who we are selling. I would be very happy for us to be signing Grealish and Rice but only if we are selling Pogba, VDB, Fred for example. As I dont see that happening I think we should be looking more in to the likes of Sancho and Camavinga. Also of course Cavani situation will have a huge bearing on our activity this summer. Centre back still a huge thing for me personalyl if we are to challenge for titles. In all honesty any two or three signings of those kind of players would be good this summer.
Don't get me wrong on Rashford, I think he's a quality player but it's about the balance of the front 4, we need 2 that primarily score goals and 2 that primarily create, obviously all 4 can dip into both bags but to me that means Pogba, Bruno and 2 from Rashord/Greenwood/Cavani/Martial. If we sell Pogba then that means we not only have to complete that deal but also negotiate a high priced deal for another creative attacker, I just have zero faith in our board to do that, signing Pogba to a new contract is the more sensible route imo and in truth Pogba is better than both Grealish and Sancho.

Rice is Maguire 2.0 in my view, if we go for him we are going to get fleeced, he's at tops a £50M player, even in this market, but West Ham Will want that plus Lingard which is closer to £70M. I'm not a fan but I wouldn't be against signing him if we are also signing a Camavinga or Neuhaus or Locatelli to go alongside him, I dread the thought of him playing alongside McTominay.

On the selling front I see De Gea and Lingard being our biggest sales this summer, the midfielder I see being sold is Matic, then next summer we could sell Fred if Garner is ready to come back and replace him in the squad.
 

jesperjaap

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Don't get me wrong on Rashford, I think he's a quality player but it's about the balance of the front 4, we need 2 that primarily score goals and 2 that primarily create, obviously all 4 can dip into both bags but to me that means Pogba, Bruno and 2 from Rashord/Greenwood/Cavani/Martial. If we sell Pogba then that means we not only have to complete that deal but also negotiate a high priced deal for another creative attacker, I just have zero faith in our board to do that, signing Pogba to a new contract is the more sensible route imo and in truth Pogba is better than both Grealish and Sancho.

Rice is Maguire 2.0 in my view, if we go for him we are going to get fleeced, he's at tops a £50M player, even in this market, but West Ham Will want that plus Lingard which is closer to £70M. I'm not a fan but I wouldn't be against signing him if we are also signing a Camavinga or Neuhaus or Locatelli to go alongside him, I dread the thought of him playing alongside McTominay.

On the selling front I see De Gea and Lingard being our biggest sales this summer, the midfielder I see being sold is Matic, then next summer we could sell Fred if Garner is ready to come back and replace him in the squad.
Agree with what you are saying about the attack, just personally despite his talent and recent good form, for the problems he seems to bring and his performances over the time he has been here (of course not in the right position admittedly for majority of it) I still dont feel it with Pogba. Maybe a lot of that is caused by the agent and his lack of quelling it. He is obviously talented, maybe more so than Grealish and Sancho....but if either were here I think consistency wise we would actually get more from them over four seasons than he has shown...again admittedly not in the right role for him.

I really wanted Grealish last summer and thought it was a mistake signing VDB who in my opinion is a good player, but was over rated in terms of expectations. Unless Pogba and VDB ae going or we are planning playing Grealish on the right, I dont think the deal makes sense now though. Part of me thinks Fernandes was bought as a Pogba replacement and Grealish could have added competition for both Fernandes, Rashford, Pogba and the right side, but not as important now with them both still here I expect. I think he is a fabukous player though myself but it would be Sancho over him as a signing now even though I actually think Grealish is better.

Anyway, totally different type of player of course, but I would disagree on Rice being Maguire 2....think he is more of a Grealish 2 in fact. Go back to last summer and there was a lot of "Grealish is a £40-50m player tops, we will get fleeced paying £60-70m he isnt worth it and we dont need him we have Fernandes and RAshford, he wont even play". Its a it different of coruse as English players able to manouvre the ball like Grealish is so rare, where as Rice is more a typical type of English midfielder, but apart from Bellingham, there havent been many good ones for quite some time in my opinion. I do think he would be a really good signing but I would also agree with you that with what we have, there isnt the ideal partner for him in our squad and we should or would need to sign another alongside him and sell other central midfielders, that concerns me, we sign Rice and then we have three similar central midfielders, improvement on quality but not in depth, optins or even balance
 

Devil may care

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Agree with what you are saying about the attack, just personally despite his talent and recent good form, for the problems he seems to bring and his performances over the time he has been here (of course not in the right position admittedly for majority of it) I still dont feel it with Pogba. Maybe a lot of that is caused by the agent and his lack of quelling it. He is obviously talented, maybe more so than Grealish and Sancho....but if either were here I think consistency wise we would actually get more from them over four seasons than he has shown...again admittedly not in the right role for him.

I really wanted Grealish last summer and thought it was a mistake signing VDB who in my opinion is a good player, but was over rated in terms of expectations. Unless Pogba and VDB ae going or we are planning playing Grealish on the right, I dont think the deal makes sense now though. Part of me thinks Fernandes was bought as a Pogba replacement and Grealish could have added competition for both Fernandes, Rashford, Pogba and the right side, but not as important now with them both still here I expect. I think he is a fabukous player though myself but it would be Sancho over him as a signing now even though I actually think Grealish is better.

Anyway, totally different type of player of course, but I would disagree on Rice being Maguire 2....think he is more of a Grealish 2 in fact. Go back to last summer and there was a lot of "Grealish is a £40-50m player tops, we will get fleeced paying £60-70m he isnt worth it and we dont need him we have Fernandes and RAshford, he wont even play". Its a it different of coruse as English players able to manouvre the ball like Grealish is so rare, where as Rice is more a typical type of English midfielder, but apart from Bellingham, there havent been many good ones for quite some time in my opinion. I do think he would be a really good signing but I would also agree with you that with what we have, there isnt the ideal partner for him in our squad and we should or would need to sign another alongside him and sell other central midfielders, that concerns me, we sign Rice and then we have three similar central midfielders, improvement on quality but not in depth, optins or even balance
Raiola is poison without a doubt and it can be hard to seperate him from his clients who seem beholding to him, like everybody on the Caf is obsessed with Haaland but look at what Raiola is doing to Dortmund in the press right now and you know Haaland won't speak up, if we did get Haaland it'd be the same crap every summer with Raiola openly talking about moving him on. My angle with Pogba is if he's happy and wants to sign a new contract that's easier for our business model than negotiating selling him and then having to negotiate for Sancho or Grealish.

I think Grealish has gone up a couple of notches this season where as Sancho has struggled, at least in the first half of the season so I'd say right now Grealish is the better of the two but Sancho is a few years younger so he has time to catch up. I think the Grealish ship has sailed though, even if Pogba goes I suspect we'll try for Sancho for the RW creator so Rashford can play LW.

I think the similarity with Rice and Maguire is they are good players with world class price tags, like I don't think it's hard to shop around and find a player that can do what Rice does, it's just as you say England haven't produced many good midfielders since the Scholes/Lampard/Gerrard/Carrick era. Now Bellingham looks special, Rice and Calvin Phillips are better midfielders than recent England options but common place across Europe.
 

city-puma

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The more I watch Bissouma the more I would like for him to be ours. He could improve us so much.
I like him as well. But he is a Fred mark II in my opinion. Thus, if he partners Fred, we need our CBs to be more aggressive to come out to challenge aerial duel. That’s what Seagulls’ CBs have to do. We probably need Baily in that setup.
 

Bebestation

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I found an interesting tweet yesterday that talks about situations like this. Most teams play 3 midfielders now and you have to have some combination of ball winning (both in transition / in defence) + progressive passing (deep playmaker stuff) + progressive carrying + shot creation.

For instance, Casemiro (Ball winning / DM) + Kroos (Progressive passing) + Modric (Dribbling / Chance creation) is one of the most balanced midfields in Europe.


I'd love to see one of these made for United but I suspect if you add Rice into the mix and make our midfield Rice + Bruno + Pogba, you will have a bit of everything.
Exactly.

If we split 2 types of ball winning midfielder what do we get?

Type 1 - Casemiro, Busquets, Rice, Fabinho, Fernandinho
Type 2 - Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke

The difference between them is the way they actually go in to tackle. Type 2 will chase after the ball and leave their position open whilst type 1 will stick to their position and stop attacks happening from that position - nearly always centrally.

Could Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke and others play as a CB better than Casemiro, Busquets, Fabinho, Rice and Fernandinho?

I dont think so, the Type 1 CDM is capable of playing CB to a relatively effective ability due to the way they keep their positioning and tackle only when needed to. Kante or Fred at CB will be running all over the pitch trying to make the tackle before the attack is initiated.


Now when we look at our squad - if we include CDM, CM and CAM as our midfielders, what do we have? We have two creative players in Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as arguably our strongest and best midfielders.

Do we really need another playmaker sitting behind them to give us 3 playmakers in the middle of the park whilst also having 2 ball playing CB'S and 2 fullbacks who have started to look like they are able to get forward and attack?

I dont personally think so. Our problem this season is that we have not been able to play our best 2 midfielders (who happen to be better attackers than defenders) because it leaves us open defensively. Hence we play McFred to find the balance for someone like Bruno to play by himself as our sole creator. What happens when Bruno is marked out of the game or is struggling? We lack creativity in the park because we have 2 defensively capable CM trying to cover our one creative CAM rather than a single pure CDM providing the balance for two creative attacking CM/CAM.

The fact is Fred or Ndidi would not work to help City play David Silva & De Bryune together with freedom. Fernandinho imposed himself as the central CDM that is capable of holding his position as the only midfielder and to tackle and recycle possession only when needed to. Fred or Ndidi would be running all over the place and leave City prone to counter attacks.

I feel that people look at how we could improve the "McFred" partnership (seeing how they lack penetrative creative ability from deep) rather than focusing on how we can actually improve and help the combination of Bruno & Pogba to have the freedom to get forward, to create and to attack.

I dont see how those 2 need a Carrick type player more than a pure ball winning CDM protecting their backs aswell as the CB's.
 

Oldyella

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While I do think we need to improve in the centre, not sure Rice is the answer, and I think he will be outside of our budget this summer anyway, so it's a moot point.
 

jesperjaap

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Raiola is poison without a doubt and it can be hard to seperate him from his clients who seem beholding to him, like everybody on the Caf is obsessed with Haaland but look at what Raiola is doing to Dortmund in the press right now and you know Haaland won't speak up, if we did get Haaland it'd be the same crap every summer with Raiola openly talking about moving him on. My angle with Pogba is if he's happy and wants to sign a new contract that's easier for our business model than negotiating selling him and then having to negotiate for Sancho or Grealish.

I think Grealish has gone up a couple of notches this season where as Sancho has struggled, at least in the first half of the season so I'd say right now Grealish is the better of the two but Sancho is a few years younger so he has time to catch up. I think the Grealish ship has sailed though, even if Pogba goes I suspect we'll try for Sancho for the RW creator so Rashford can play LW.

I think the similarity with Rice and Maguire is they are good players with world class price tags, like I don't think it's hard to shop around and find a player that can do what Rice does, it's just as you say England haven't produced many good midfielders since the Scholes/Lampard/Gerrard/Carrick era. Now Bellingham looks special, Rice and Calvin Phillips are better midfielders than recent England options but common place across Europe.
Would agree with most of that. Especially Haaland, which is a shame as player wise he is perfect for us really. I am a massive fan of Grealish and think he is worthy of such a fee, but not for what we already have and need, think we missed the right time to sign him last summer going for VDB.

As for Rice, yes there are quite a few also young midfielders around Europe for probably around half the price who are also very good players. I do think though that Rice always has been a better player than most people think and is also getting better, like Grealish last summer. I think they are both better players in there respective positions than Maguire is personally. The two key things for me with him are his leadership possibilities but more crucially I dont see us selling Fred sadly, so that would mean Rice probably isnt the profile of midfielder we should be signing this summer....personally wrongly I feel
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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I think Ole is smart enough to realize we are a much better team with Pogba in the front 4, there's no benefit in removing him to play Rashford, it creates a huge inbalance with Bruno as the only real creator and 3 forwards around him, Rashford needs to get used to competing for the RW with Mason as Pogba offers us much more guile and control in attack and it helps Bruno as they can't double mark him.
I think that problem of not enough creativity in the front 4 is solved if we get Sancho. If that happens Rashford is definitely going back to the left and Pogba back to the double pivot.

If we don't get Sancho though I still can't imagine Pogba on the left being his fixed position. It may be his best position but do we play him there to get the best out of him, or to accommodate McFred midfield to give us defensive solidity? I think its the latter
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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Exactly.

If we split 2 types of ball winning midfielder what do we get?

Type 1 - Casemiro, Busquets, Rice, Fabinho, Fernandinho
Type 2 - Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke

The difference between them is the way they actually go in to tackle. Type 2 will chase after the ball and leave their position open whilst type 1 will stick to their position and stop attacks happening from that position - nearly always centrally.

Could Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke and others play as a CB better than Casemiro, Busquets, Fabinho, Rice and Fernandinho?

I dont think so, the Type 1 CDM is capable of playing CB to a relatively effective ability due to the way they keep their positioning and tackle only when needed to. Kante or Fred at CB will be running all over the pitch trying to make the tackle before the attack is initiated.


Now when we look at our squad - if we include CDM, CM and CAM as our midfielders, what do we have? We have two creative players in Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as arguably our strongest and best midfielders.

Do we really need another playmaker sitting behind them to give us 3 playmakers in the middle of the park whilst also having 2 ball playing CB'S and 2 fullbacks who have started to look like they are able to get forward and attack?

I dont personally think so. Our problem this season is that we have not been able to play our best 2 midfielders (who happen to be better attackers than defenders) because it leaves us open defensively. Hence we play McFred to find the balance for someone like Bruno to play by himself as our sole creator. What happens when Bruno is marked out of the game or is struggling? We lack creativity in the park because we have 2 defensively capable CM trying to cover our one creative CAM rather than a single pure CDM providing the balance for two creative attacking CM/CAM.

The fact is Fred or Ndidi would not work to help City play David Silva & De Bryune together with freedom. Fernandinho imposed himself as the central CDM that is capable of holding his position as the only midfielder and to tackle and recycle possession only when needed to. Fred or Ndidi would be running all over the place and leave City prone to counter attacks.

I feel that people look at how we could improve the "McFred" partnership (seeing how they lack penetrative creative ability from deep) rather than focusing on how we can actually improve and help the combination of Bruno & Pogba to have the freedom to get forward, to create and to attack.

I dont see how those 2 need a Carrick type player more than a pure ball winning CDM protecting their backs aswell as the CB's.
We pretty much had this when we played with Matic Pogba and Bruno at the restart. My memory is foggy to remember the overall performance but I do remember we didn't concede much
 

GueRed

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Don't get me wrong on Rashford, I think he's a quality player but it's about the balance of the front 4, we need 2 that primarily score goals and 2 that primarily create, obviously all 4 can dip into both bags but to me that means Pogba, Bruno and 2 from Rashord/Greenwood/Cavani/Martial. If we sell Pogba then that means we not only have to complete that deal but also negotiate a high priced deal for another creative attacker, I just have zero faith in our board to do that, signing Pogba to a new contract is the more sensible route imo and in truth Pogba is better than both Grealish and Sancho.

Rice is Maguire 2.0 in my view, if we go for him we are going to get fleeced, he's at tops a £50M player, even in this market, but West Ham Will want that plus Lingard which is closer to £70M. I'm not a fan but I wouldn't be against signing him if we are also signing a Camavinga or Neuhaus or Locatelli to go alongside him, I dread the thought of him playing alongside McTominay.

On the selling front I see De Gea and Lingard being our biggest sales this summer, the midfielder I see being sold is Matic, then next summer we could sell Fred if Garner is ready to come back and replace him in the squad.
He'd be worth it then.
 

AneRu

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Exactly.

If we split 2 types of ball winning midfielder what do we get?

Type 1 - Casemiro, Busquets, Rice, Fabinho, Fernandinho
Type 2 - Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke

The difference between them is the way they actually go in to tackle. Type 2 will chase after the ball and leave their position open whilst type 1 will stick to their position and stop attacks happening from that position - nearly always centrally.

Could Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke and others play as a CB better than Casemiro, Busquets, Fabinho, Rice and Fernandinho?

I dont think so, the Type 1 CDM is capable of playing CB to a relatively effective ability due to the way they keep their positioning and tackle only when needed to. Kante or Fred at CB will be running all over the pitch trying to make the tackle before the attack is initiated.


Now when we look at our squad - if we include CDM, CM and CAM as our midfielders, what do we have? We have two creative players in Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as arguably our strongest and best midfielders.

Do we really need another playmaker sitting behind them to give us 3 playmakers in the middle of the park whilst also having 2 ball playing CB'S and 2 fullbacks who have started to look like they are able to get forward and attack?

I dont personally think so. Our problem this season is that we have not been able to play our best 2 midfielders (who happen to be better attackers than defenders) because it leaves us open defensively. Hence we play McFred to find the balance for someone like Bruno to play by himself as our sole creator. What happens when Bruno is marked out of the game or is struggling? We lack creativity in the park because we have 2 defensively capable CM trying to cover our one creative CAM rather than a single pure CDM providing the balance for two creative attacking CM/CAM.

The fact is Fred or Ndidi would not work to help City play David Silva & De Bryune together with freedom. Fernandinho imposed himself as the central CDM that is capable of holding his position as the only midfielder and to tackle and recycle possession only when needed to. Fred or Ndidi would be running all over the place and leave City prone to counter attacks.

I feel that people look at how we could improve the "McFred" partnership (seeing how they lack penetrative creative ability from deep) rather than focusing on how we can actually improve and help the combination of Bruno & Pogba to have the freedom to get forward, to create and to attack.

I dont see how those 2 need a Carrick type player more than a pure ball winning CDM protecting their backs aswell as the CB's.
If he can come in and become the Fernandinho to Pogba and Bruno then he will be worth the fee West Ham will demand because that will solve a lot of issues in the team. Pogba goes back into the double pivot, Rashford goes back to the left where he is lethal and Greenwood comes into the team. But I fear that outside of Ndidi there aren't many midfielders capable of anchoring such a midfield because the demands in terms of ground coverage will be huge.
 

davidmichael

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Rice isn’t the type to chase all over the pitch and be caught out of position which means he’s the perfect player to play alongside Pogba in a two man midfield, just sit in front of the back four and allow Pogba to go forward to support Fernandes and the front three.

Such subtle tweaks to our team like Sancho on the right and Rice in a midfield two changes everything and gives us perfect balance, the protection that Rice would also bring the centre backs is also a massive plus and Rice like Maguire doesn’t miss games which has long been a problem for our players.
 

Drainy

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I reckon he's as close to a guaranteed success for us as you get for a defensive midfielder.

He's shown for West Ham that he's really strong in a deep counter attacking system and for England he's capable of carrying the ball in a more possession based system.

He's a leader for a team in the top 6 in the Premier League, while also being very young and developing. He's on an upwards trajectory and all reports are that he's got a great work ethic and mentality.

Obviously if we're talking £80m its very questionable, particularly given the pandemic, but I can see why West Ham are trying for that type of figure and outside of the current financial problems with football someone may have bit.
 

andersj

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People seem to be very hung up in price and I understand why. West Ham would probably demand a big fee. That being said, very few seemed to argue Partey was expensive. He is a similar type of player and, based on this season, not that much better.

Arsenal paid £45 mill for Partey. If you assume that a midfielder will have a value of zero at the age of 32 that is £7,5 mill a year for Partey. It is reasonable to assume that you would get ten years from a player like Rice. All else being equal, Partey’s «cost per year» would equal a fee of £75 mill for Rice.

I get that playing in the CL for a team like Atletico Madrid somehow «inflate» his value. But the fact thay Rice is an established player in the PL is probably of similar value (given that we rate him). Furthermore;

- Man Utd would probably expect Rice to develop a lot the next four years,
- Rice has been a lot less injury prone than Partey,
- Despite his young age, Rice is already a captain at West Ham,

I also think Man Utd value the fact that he is from UK. You could always make fun of that, but I do think it makes it more likely that he becomes a leader at the club. It is the same with german players in Bayern and spanish players in Barcelona/Real Madrid. Speaking the language and knowing the culture makes it easier. Both with the media and inside the club. There are exceptions, but these are usually strong personalities.
 

Borys

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Exactly.

If we split 2 types of ball winning midfielder what do we get?

Type 1 - Casemiro, Busquets, Rice, Fabinho, Fernandinho
Type 2 - Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke

The difference between them is the way they actually go in to tackle. Type 2 will chase after the ball and leave their position open whilst type 1 will stick to their position and stop attacks happening from that position - nearly always centrally.

Could Ndidi, Kante, Fred, Koke and others play as a CB better than Casemiro, Busquets, Fabinho, Rice and Fernandinho?

I dont think so, the Type 1 CDM is capable of playing CB to a relatively effective ability due to the way they keep their positioning and tackle only when needed to. Kante or Fred at CB will be running all over the pitch trying to make the tackle before the attack is initiated.


Now when we look at our squad - if we include CDM, CM and CAM as our midfielders, what do we have? We have two creative players in Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as arguably our strongest and best midfielders.

Do we really need another playmaker sitting behind them to give us 3 playmakers in the middle of the park whilst also having 2 ball playing CB'S and 2 fullbacks who have started to look like they are able to get forward and attack?

I dont personally think so. Our problem this season is that we have not been able to play our best 2 midfielders (who happen to be better attackers than defenders) because it leaves us open defensively. Hence we play McFred to find the balance for someone like Bruno to play by himself as our sole creator. What happens when Bruno is marked out of the game or is struggling? We lack creativity in the park because we have 2 defensively capable CM trying to cover our one creative CAM rather than a single pure CDM providing the balance for two creative attacking CM/CAM.

The fact is Fred or Ndidi would not work to help City play David Silva & De Bryune together with freedom. Fernandinho imposed himself as the central CDM that is capable of holding his position as the only midfielder and to tackle and recycle possession only when needed to. Fred or Ndidi would be running all over the place and leave City prone to counter attacks.

I feel that people look at how we could improve the "McFred" partnership (seeing how they lack penetrative creative ability from deep) rather than focusing on how we can actually improve and help the combination of Bruno & Pogba to have the freedom to get forward, to create and to attack.

I dont see how those 2 need a Carrick type player more than a pure ball winning CDM protecting their backs aswell as the CB's.
Ndidi is the player you're looking for. He is nothing like Fred or Kante. He plays centrally, just in front of the defence, slotting in the back 4 when one of CB goes forward. He rarely runs, and constantly looks around and positions himself just at the edge of the action. Like I said, he is nothing like Fred and Kante.
 

Devil may care

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Would agree with most of that. Especially Haaland, which is a shame as player wise he is perfect for us really. I am a massive fan of Grealish and think he is worthy of such a fee, but not for what we already have and need, think we missed the right time to sign him last summer going for VDB.

As for Rice, yes there are quite a few also young midfielders around Europe for probably around half the price who are also very good players. I do think though that Rice always has been a better player than most people think and is also getting better, like Grealish last summer. I think they are both better players in there respective positions than Maguire is personally. The two key things for me with him are his leadership possibilities but more crucially I dont see us selling Fred sadly, so that would mean Rice probably isnt the profile of midfielder we should be signing this summer....personally wrongly I feel
Yeah, I think last summer was the time we'd have gotten Grealish if we were going to get him as Pogba still had two years on his contract and we'd have been able to sell him for big fee and reinvest it in Grealish, but our focus was solely on Sancho once we bought VdB and we just ended up scrambling for bodies in the last week.

Fair enough mate, I'm open to the possibility of him developing further, he's just never impressed me to the level he has others, but part of it is also the fact we haven't got the partner for him, same thing we did with Maguire as you mentioned, he'd improve us defensively but we'd still have the issue of linking midfield to attack.

I think that problem of not enough creativity in the front 4 is solved if we get Sancho. If that happens Rashford is definitely going back to the left and Pogba back to the double pivot.

If we don't get Sancho though I still can't imagine Pogba on the left being his fixed position. It may be his best position but do we play him there to get the best out of him, or to accommodate McFred midfield to give us defensive solidity? I think its the latter
That's another £70M we don't need to spend imo, I am surprised so many of our fans are ignoring how much Mason has developed as a RWF and how him and Ole have talked about him being best there, fans just want to force him into the #9 so they can buy a shiny new forward.

I think it's both, every manager has tried to force Pogba into the double pivot but ultimately it's always had the same flaws, so it seems to me that Ole has put his ego aside and simply started playing Pogba in his Juve role and making the central midfield more secure, he has the right idea with McFred in concept, he just needs to upgrade them.

He'd be worth it then.
For £80M I'd want a Varane or Marquinhos or players like Rio, Vidic, Nesta, Ramos or Thiago Silva in their prime, that's a fee you pay for world class players, not good ones who then can never be dropped.
 

croadyman

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Disagree about on the ball being marginally ahead, I think he is considerably ahead. Neither have a huge range of passing but Rice is far more aware of what is around him, far more intelligent on the ball and I think his short range passing is actually very good, he usually has the right weight of pass consistently. I would only compare them evenly in terms of dribbling, Fred has more talent, Rice more drive and power, but none are great dribblers.

As for signing someone alongside him...I agree. But personalyl just like we needed to sign two centre backs when we signed one in Maguire.....we still need another one, I think we actually need to do the same in midfield unless a youngster is ready to step up. Not through lack of quality but I just think bar certain games, none of our central mdfielders (apart from Matic who is ageing and slows the play down too much for me now), none of our central midfielders are actually suited to playing that role week in week out over a season in a title winning side. I think we need a partner for Maguire and a fresh midfield partnership for the pivots. Personally I would sell both Pogba and Fred.
Yeah I feel that the pivot definitely needs a freshen up as well but tricky with issues in other areas
 

croadyman

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My perspective I think we would lose massive solidity if we dropped Fred and McT in favour of a single DM being Rice.
I really like 433 as a principal and shape but to me Pogba and Bruno are going to have to massively change how they play. Shaw and Bissaka will need to be more reserved mainly because not once have Pogba or Bruno shown the patience, movement or understanding to play in such a shape with just one semi decent DM covering them Kroos and Modric they are not.

No doubt both are great attacking forces but they get to do so because of the work Fred and McT do covering them and Shaw and Bissaka. One man Rice isn’t going to do this unless lots of things change in the manner we play football with Bruno and Pogba changing what has made them so effective.
Yeah I would like to see him with one of Fred/Scott
 

croadyman

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Yes I think Pogba also is probably better on the left than Rashford....though partly that is current form. I still think when he is on form Rashford is excellent on the left, whether that is injury problems or not, he just doesnt seem consistent enough though to me and when he isnt....he seems to wander about rather than running at players. Its a tough one as although I agree, I would probably still sell Pogba.

Well my only problems personally signing Rice are the price and that he is similar to Fred and McTominay, but as you say he offers far more defensively, I think his positioning and spotting runners is excellent, similar to Carrick in his latter years here. I alsothink he offers more in consistency of passing than the other two. I would like us to sign him but only if we are selling Fred or McTominay (Fred definatley for me), which I dont see us doing, I dont think we need the three of them.

I think our targets should really depend hugely on who we are selling. I would be very happy for us to be signing Grealish and Rice but only if we are selling Pogba, VDB, Fred for example. As I dont see that happening I think we should be looking more in to the likes of Sancho and Camavinga. Also of course Cavani situation will have a huge bearing on our activity this summer. Centre back still a huge thing for me personalyl if we are to challenge for titles. In all honesty any two or three signings of those kind of players would be good this summer.
Saw someone suggest that we could postpone a move for him until next summer IF Utd sense Varane is available (yes I know they are very different positions), in regards to Grealish I have always felt we would only go for if Pogba was going to leave
 

croadyman

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This thread has taken a weird turn.

I'm a pretty staunch in my opposition of this signing for the prices quoted, but would happily take a gamble on something like £30m (including what we can get for Lingard). If he doesn't work out at DM, I think he'd be a cracking CB.
Maybe his ability to slot in there if needed really appeals to Utd and is another reason for the interest, however completely agree with people who think we should be looking at cheaper options on the continent too but no real signs of that so far which I do find a bit worrying to be honest
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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That's another £70M we don't need to spend imo, I am surprised so many of our fans are ignoring how much Mason has developed as a RWF and how him and Ole have talked about him being best there, fans just want to force him into the #9 so they can buy a shiny new forward.

I think it's both, every manager has tried to force Pogba into the double pivot but ultimately it's always had the same flaws, so it seems to me that Ole has put his ego aside and simply started playing Pogba in his Juve role and making the central midfield more secure, he has the right idea with McFred in concept, he just needs to upgrade them.
I'm with you about Mason being the answer to our RW. Except I think Sancho should still be gotten though not at the expense of other crucial positions. I'd say our priorities should be DM first then a world class CB then RW.

I only think Pogba playing left wing will become fixed if Rashford performs on the right wing. That will make RW no longer a priority as Rashford and Greenwood will cover that area. Would be a blessing because that will leave just DM and CB to fix in the summer

However, we know Pogba plays best on that left wing so far but If Rashford does not perform on the right I doubt he's going to be benched for Greenwood as I think he is a favourite. For Ole it will be a choice of either shoehorn Rashford on the right where he will not play as good or Bench Rashford for Greenwood or Play Rashford on the right and take Pogba back to the double pivot (where he's played there at least 70% of his United and France career(. I think the last option is the most likely and like I've said before Pogba won't always play there and would likely depend on the opposition
 

Devil may care

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I'm with you about Mason being the answer to our RW. Except I think Sancho should still be gotten though not at the expense of other crucial positions. I'd say our priorities should be DM first then a world class CB then RW.

I only think Pogba playing left wing will become fixed if Rashford performs on the right wing. That will make RW no longer a priority as Rashford and Greenwood will cover that area. Would be a blessing because that will leave just DM and CB to fix in the summer

However, we know Pogba plays best on that left wing so far but If Rashford does not perform on the right I doubt he's going to be benched for Greenwood as I think he is a favourite. For Ole it will be a choice of either shoehorn Rashford on the right where he will not play as good or Bench Rashford for Greenwood or Play Rashford on the right and take Pogba back to the double pivot (where he's played there at least 70% of his United and France career(. I think the last option is the most likely and like I've said before Pogba won't always play there and would likely depend on the opposition
If we buy Sancho for £70M it's going to be the same issue with Greenwood and Rashord as Pogba playing LW as one of them is spending more time on the bench, and moving Pogba to the double pivot will ultimately just see him leave imo, we need a more sustainable set-up. At the end of the day nobody should be guaranteed a start, Rashford needs to be rested more as it is, some genuine competition and rotation between the 3 wouldn't hurt imo, and then we can go and get 2 midfielders and McFred can go to the bench where they belong.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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If we buy Sancho for £70M it's going to be the same issue with Greenwood and Rashord as Pogba playing LW as one of them is spending more time on the bench, and moving Pogba to the double pivot will ultimately just see him leave imo, we need a more sustainable set-up. At the end of the day nobody should be guaranteed a start, Rashford needs to be rested more as it is, some genuine competition and rotation between the 3 wouldn't hurt imo, and then we can go and get 2 midfielders and McFred can go to the bench where they belong.
I'm certain we are more likely to get Sancho than 2 midfielders.
 

Devil may care

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I'm certain we are more likely to get Sancho than 2 midfielders.
You're probably right mate as that's about social media clicks and marketing hype rather than what the team actually needs, and we know our board care more about that, I'm sure there'll be a tik tok video announcement to go with the signing.
 

Bwuk

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Roy Keane on Sky just said that if he had the choice of signing two players for United, he'd sign Kane and Grealish. No mention of Rice.
I really rate Rice but Grealish and Kane would improve this side a lot more.
 

Wilbursaurus

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Strongly for this signing. Would be great sitting in front of the defence and would allow Pogba to play deeper and Rashford back where he should be on the left.
 

theklr

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If we buy Sancho for £70M it's going to be the same issue with Greenwood and Rashord as Pogba playing LW as one of them is spending more time on the bench, and moving Pogba to the double pivot will ultimately just see him leave imo
Why would Pogba leave playing in the double pivot if the plan is a DM and additional CB thats good enough for him to roam forward?
 

ThemanGiggsy

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Why would Pogba leave playing in the double pivot if the plan is a DM and additional CB thats good enough for him to roam forward?
Agree with this. if we buy a CDM there is no need for a double pivot, which lets Pogba roam free while still have attackers for the front three positions.
 

Devil may care

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Why would Pogba leave playing in the double pivot if the plan is a DM and additional CB thats good enough for him to roam forward?
Pogba never looks happy there, he said himself he likes playing off the left as an attacker, and the idea that Rice would change that is a myth, if you look at the midfields of the other top 6 nobody plays with the luxury of a Pogba type, he's a defensive liability and he knows it.