Matic/Fred/McTominay - do we really need to sign a new DM?

Brightonian

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People are confusing DM with destroyer. No, we have never really played with an out-and-out destroyer. Few teams do. Your DM is obviously a creative as well as destructive player. That doesn't mean we don't need someone more defensively sound than Fred or McT in the squad. Both Matic and Carrick were proper 'defensive midfielders', certainly more so than Fred or McT. That's what we need to replace in the squad, even if we won't need this player for every single match.

At a stretch we could look to promote Garner into this position, sharing games with Matic, but only if the management feel he is definitely ready for the responsibility. Arguably he simply hasn't been given enough senior minutes this season to be considered a safe enough pair of hands for next season.
 

James Peril

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We’ve kept the second most clean sheets in Europe, a DM isn’t a priority at all. Scott and Fred can shield the back 4 in B2B roles, we don’t need someone sitting there being static.

Matić has been above decent but he isn’t the sole reason we have kept all these clean sheets.
What’s your summary here then. Just buy a few attacking players and we’ll keep the same amount of shut-outs and score a bunch on top of that? We have kept clean sheets because we are a «top» team that plays counter attacking football with low blocks, closer to Atletico Madrid than City/Pool in that regard. We are scoring too few and we aren’t playing to the ability of our attacking players. If/when we start to play more attacking football as we should, naturally we are going to ship in more goals with the players we currently have in our squad. This is if we have ambitions to win the league of course, with a better manager, not finishing 5th in a league with two good teams.

We need a defensive animal if we want to compete, another version of prime Casemiro, Kante et al means the world to a team.
 

kafta

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If pogba stays, then a fast DM like partey can work with pogba and Bruno in midfield. Matic alone would be too slow. But I'd like Matic to stay as well as he's been fantastic lately.
 

POF

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People are confusing DM with destroyer. No, we have never really played with an out-and-out destroyer. Few teams do. Your DM is obviously a creative as well as destructive player. That doesn't mean we don't need someone more defensively sound than Fred or McT in the squad. Both Matic and Carrick were proper 'defensive midfielders', certainly more so than Fred or McT. That's what we need to replace in the squad, even if we won't need this player for every single match.

At a stretch we could look to promote Garner into this position, sharing games with Matic, but only if the management feel he is definitely ready for the responsibility. Arguably he simply hasn't been given enough senior minutes this season to be considered a safe enough pair of hands for next season.
Out of interest, what do you see McTominay's strengths as if not defensive?

He's certainly more effective when his team is without the ball than with it. I've been really impressed with how his defensive positioning has improved this season. On the ball, he's pretty average.
 

Rifer

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Need the most - RW

Depends on interpretation of the word "Need".
Should - DM
(it's not the highest Need, but then only Matic is our proper CDM, having another specialist will be useful)
 

Bestietom

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Matic is our only DM and he is getting on now. Zakaria would be the one I would prefer now.
 

Gopher Brown

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Last year quite a few people were saying Declan Rice should be signed. I haven't heard a peep about him for months, is he still alive?
 

Kostov

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When have we ever used a defensive midfielder in the successfully years?
Keane was not purely defensive , neither was Ince or Robson. If we have good enough box to box with defensive qualities we should be ok.
I think we only need a right sided attacker and possibly a left back as cover for Shaw. Williams is still learning.
When have we ever played with a number 10? :D

Seriously if we are going to play Bruno and eventually Pogba or Grealish in a midfield 3, then we do need a world class CDM. Matic is declining and none of Fred or McT is a CDM. Maybe we can make it work with McT if he develops more defensive nous, but Fred will never be the partner for Bruno and a player like Pogba. RW and CDM both need to be addressed if we are to compete at the top.
 

sherrinford

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When have we ever used a defensive midfielder in the successfully years?
Keane was not purely defensive , neither was Ince or Robson. If we have good enough box to box with defensive qualities we should be ok.
I think we only need a right sided attacker and possibly a left back as cover for Shaw. Williams is still learning.
Constantly? Keane was a holding player when paired with Scholes. Carrick for his entire career here. Hargreaves. We have, along with every other team in football, generally set up with a sitting midfielder alongside another one or two depending on the formation.

I am struggling to think of an example of a side who has played, for any reasonable period, with a pair of midfielders who genuinely share the responsibility of anchoring the midfield and evenly alternate between holding and supporting during a game. Heynckes’ treble winning Bayern team, perhaps? And maybe us currently - Pogba-McTominay and Fred-McTominay have been quite balanced in terms of who sits and who joins in in attack.

Be honest now, who has has actually seen Denis Zakaria play 90 mins?
I’ve seen him play two full games. In one he played in a back three and I suppose he did quite well to not really leave an impression since his team were well outplayed (though drew, I think, with Leipzig), and in the other he played as a box to box player alongside a holding player, to the right first half, left second half (4-1 win against Fortuna Düsseldorf). He was outshone by Thuram up front and particularly Neuhaus in midfield, but certainly looked an interesting player and a standout physically in specific moments. He looked comfortable with the license to go forward so I do wonder if holding midfield is really the position for him, though he is obviously championed for that role here.
 

TrustInJanuzaj

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Absolutely. Fred and McTominay aren't DMs, neither have the passing range I'd like to see from a DM either so I don't think they could be converted to a DM successfully. In all honesty I'd like more of a DM/DLP hybrid than anything else. Matic is in his 30s now and we've seen what happens if he's run into the ground and as good as he's been I would like someone with a bit more mobility, especially if we have trophy-winning aspirations. It'd be a really good time to invest in a new DM, because we're currently not desperate so we could avoid being fleeced, to an extent.
Do you really think we need a DLP if we play with two attacking midfielders ala Pogba and Fernandes. For me the most important thing in that scenario is to have solidity and legs. I think Fred could play that role well but I also wouldn’t be against a proper midfield destroyer coming in like Ndidi etc. I have been saying for years we need someone to control midfield but I think that issue is solved if we play two attacking creative players.
 

Foxbatt

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No matter what and especially if Pogba and Bruno play together we need a DM. Matic though he is playing brilliant now needs to be replaced. Also we need the engine of Fred. Ideally if Scott can play as a DM it would be ideal but for me he is not a DM.
 
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I think its pretty unanimous across the fan-base that we're crying out for a RW, I don't think many would dispute that. However, a lot of the threads discussing transfer activity go on to say that we should be signing a new DM.

Earlier in the season I would have agreed but with Fred playing out of his skin, Matic all of a sudden looking the part and McT returning from injury, do we actually need another DM? Assuming we play 3 CM's, with Bruno and Pogba (assuming he's now staying) thats 5 players for those positions, plus potentially Garner and, fingers crossed, Gomes. It feels as though we have ample options there.

This isn't a thread to outline what positions people believe we need to sign, more asking the question on whether we should sign another DM or go with what we have.
We only have 2 natural Dms. Matic and Mctominay. If Matic leaves he will need replacing. Fred is no dm.
 

Tom Cato

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We’ve kept the second most clean sheets in Europe, a DM isn’t a priority at all. Scott and Fred can shield the back 4 in B2B roles, we don’t need someone sitting there being static.

Matić has been above decent but he isn’t the sole reason we have kept all these clean sheets.
Gary Rogers, 38 of Dundalk FC has kept the most clean sheets in the European first tier leagues this season with 23. He's conceded only 17 goals.

De Gea go home.

That being said, we've kept 4 more clean sheets since that statistic came out. Which puts us at 21 clean sheets for the season. PSG has kept 2, so they sit at 24.

Our 30 GA is 4th in the league, 1 behind Manchester City. We were at 8th on this ranking previously. Sheffield United continue being hilariously difficult to score on with 25 GA over 28 games. Only Liverpool are better at 21 GA.

We're having an absolute beast of a 2nd half of the season so far.

I am well and truly falling in love with Matics performance as of late. He's going to have his contract extended at this rate.
 

hmchan

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Do you really think we need a DLP if we play with two attacking midfielders ala Pogba and Fernandes. For me the most important thing in that scenario is to have solidity and legs. I think Fred could play that role well but I also wouldn’t be against a proper midfield destroyer coming in like Ndidi etc. I have been saying for years we need someone to control midfield but I think that issue is solved if we play two attacking creative players.
For me a DLP is always useful for a dominant side. A good DLP can bring the ball from back to front and switch play effectively, which are important elements in breaking down a bus (a major weakness for us this season needless to say). Defensively he just needs the intelligence to cover for the backline, read the danger and stop counter attacks occassionally. This is why Jorginho is favored to Kante in CDM under both Sarri and Lampard. Against stronger sides, I wouldn't oppose to play an extra midfield destroyer to win back possessions.

Since the retirement of Carrick, we had lacked a proper CDM for a while. Mourinho played Herrera in that spot but the effect was unsatisfactory. He lacked the composure and he was too enthusiastic to commit into challenges, which often got him out of position. Offensively he wasn't good enough on the ball and we relied heavily on Pogba. This was why Matic was brought in despite Herrera claiming the POTY.

To be honest I don't watch many games other than United but among the teams I've seen, I think Rice is a potential candidate. He has the required technical ability, football intelligence and mentality but of course he has certain elements to improve on before he can really fulfill his potential.
 

momo83

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wonder if holding midfield is really the position for him, though he is obviously championed for that role here.
FIFA 20, Football Manager, YouTube highlights is what most people here based their “knowledge” on.
 

Bebestation

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The one & only CDM we truly need now is one that can play as a CB in the back 3 long term in my eyes.

Someone like Zakaria, Rice or Phillips does this very well & enables us to play two more attacking minded midfielders further up the pitch - allowing Ole to blend the 352 and a 433 together at the same time. You can see the trident:

De Gea
Bailly -Maguire
Zakaria
AWB-Fernandes- Pogba-Shaw
Martial
Greenwood-rashford
In my opinion having a CDM that can drop in and play in to a back 3 allows us the flexibility in having a false CB the same way as having a false number 9 upfront in martial drop down to create spaces for Rashford and Greenwood.

It allows us to play with a back 4 and a back 5 but the attacking ability to primarily come from the central areas with our full backs being wonder defenders themselves.

1. When Zakaria is in a back 3, the wing backs have the freedom to attack forward.

2. When the wing backs are back, zakaria as a central player defends forward as a CDM to initiate a counterattack either wider or centrally.

Fred, Mctomminay & Grealish are all players that can play in these positions in my opinion and maybe even matic can one day cover the role of of a false CB if it isn't too energetic on him.
 

Rish Sawhney

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For me a DLP is always useful for a dominant side. A good DLP can bring the ball from back to front and switch play effectively, which are important elements in breaking down a bus (a major weakness for us this season needless to say). Defensively he just needs the intelligence to cover for the backline, read the danger and stop counter attacks occassionally. This is why Jorginho is favored to Kante in CDM under both Sarri and Lampard. Against stronger sides, I wouldn't oppose to play an extra midfield destroyer to win back possessions.

Since the retirement of Carrick, we had lacked a proper CDM for a while. Mourinho played Herrera in that spot but the effect was unsatisfactory. He lacked the composure and he was too enthusiastic to commit into challenges, which often got him out of position. Offensively he wasn't good enough on the ball and we relied heavily on Pogba. This was why Matic was brought in despite Herrera claiming the POTY.

To be honest I don't watch many games other than United but among the teams I've seen, I think Rice is a potential candidate. He has the required technical ability, football intelligence and mentality but of course he has certain elements to improve on before he can really fulfill his potential.
What are you talking about? Matic is even less of a playmaker than Herrera. He can barely pass forward without taking 5 touches to set him up and then overhitting a diagonal. We have 0 DLP at the moment. But I think McTominay can become one. He’s already started to fizz balls into forwards’ feel in the Carrick mould and I reckon he’s the future in that area.
 

hmchan

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What are you talking about? Matic is even less of a playmaker than Herrera. He can barely pass forward without taking 5 touches to set him up and then overhitting a diagonal. We have 0 DLP at the moment. But I think McTominay can become one. He’s already started to fizz balls into forwards’ feel in the Carrick mould and I reckon he’s the future in that area.
I'm not sure if we watch the same game but I'm confident to say Matic is much more adventurous in making forward passes. Yes he is declining and yes sometimes he takes too many touches but at least he knows how to feed the ball forward. Herrera was too afraid to hold onto the ball for one more second and he couldn't wait to pass the ball away as if he was getting a bomb. Most of the passes he made were backwards or sideways and meaningless to build an attack. I would call him a ball winning midfielder more than a DLP.

Currently I don't have much opinion on McTominay other than a hardworking midfielder. It's too soon to say which path he should take but putting him on a holding role seems wasteful on his stamina and energy, which are his biggest strengths for the meantime. Of course with more understanding in the game and improvements on the ball, he could be a new Carrick but again it's too soon to tell.
 

Augustus Gloop

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What’s your summary here then. Just buy a few attacking players and we’ll keep the same amount of shut-outs and score a bunch on top of that? We have kept clean sheets because we are a «top» team that plays counter attacking football with low blocks, closer to Atletico Madrid than City/Pool in that regard. We are scoring too few and we aren’t playing to the ability of our attacking players. If/when we start to play more attacking football as we should, naturally we are going to ship in more goals with the players we currently have in our squad. This is if we have ambitions to win the league of course, with a better manager, not finishing 5th in a league with two good teams.

We need a defensive animal if we want to compete, another version of prime Casemiro, Kante et al means the world to a team.
My summary is put all of our eggs in the Scott McTominay basket and not stifle his development by buying a defensive midfielder. Fred has shown enough to be considered to be in and amongst the first 11, as has Bruno. Supplement that by buying Grealish and you have 5 players (inc. Matić) competing for 2/3 positions in the first 11

Scott is 23. 4 or 5 years off his peak. He is an absolute unit and will only get better playing that no.6 role if that’s what is required of him.

Our weak spots this season have been the goalkeeper and the no.10 spot. I would buy a RW, Grealish, striker and recall Henderson. Possibly a defender.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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I'm not sure if we watch the same game but I'm confident to say Matic is much more adventurous in making forward passes. Yes he is declining and yes sometimes he takes too many touches but at least he knows how to feed the ball forward. Herrera was too afraid to hold onto the ball for one more second and he couldn't wait to pass the ball away as if he was getting a bomb. Most of the passes he made were backwards or sideways and meaningless to build an attack. I would call him a ball winning midfielder more than a DLP.

Currently I don't have much opinion on McTominay other than a hardworking midfielder. It's too soon to say which path he should take but putting him on a holding role seems wasteful on his stamina and energy, which are his biggest strengths for the meantime. Of course with more understanding in the game and improvements on the ball, he could be a new Carrick but again it's too soon to tell.
One thing I've noticed through out this season is that Mctominay has been adventurous with his passing
 

caid

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McTominay looks a good cm to me. I really dont see a dm in any regard though
 

The United

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I would say we need a player similar to Carrick who can shield the back 4 decent and play-make from deep.

There will be games where the opposition would mark Bruno or Pogba (if he stays) out, we need a deep play makers to offset it.
 

AltiUn

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Do you really think we need a DLP if we play with two attacking midfielders ala Pogba and Fernandes. For me the most important thing in that scenario is to have solidity and legs. I think Fred could play that role well but I also wouldn’t be against a proper midfield destroyer coming in like Ndidi etc. I have been saying for years we need someone to control midfield but I think that issue is solved if we play two attacking creative players.
Yeah I'm sure we could operate very well with a pure destroyer, it's just my personal preference. I've always liked DLPs, I think there's a lot of value in a midfield 3 of exceptional passers, then again I suppose if we're playing Pogba in a more disciplined role in the 2 he could operate as a pseudo DLP.
I would say we need a player similar to Carrick who can shield the back 4 decent and play-make from deep.

There will be games where the opposition would mark Bruno or Pogba (if he stays) out, we need a deep play makers to offset it.
That's pretty much exactly who's been coming to mind for me with all this talk of a new deeper midfielder, shame there aren't many Carrick clones knocking about.
 

MikeeMike

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Need the most - RW

Depends on interpretation of the word "Need".
Should - DM
(it's not the highest Need, but then only Matic is our proper CDM, having another specialist will be useful)
Why is this so. We dont score from wingers putting in crosses (since Hill and Coppell.) Also , is DJ not RW. Unfortunately he had a great start and has stalled. No problem if you disagree but for me Bruno is new catalyst. AKA Cantona.

This team needs to become a team and not 11 talents. I feel we are getting there.
 

lex talionis

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Though brilliant of late, Matic’s age has to be a concern. Partey would be a massive acquisition while Matic could fill in when needed.

We could ask, what about Garner? I haven’t seen enough of him to know what his potential is, but if we think next season we’re in the hunt for major trophies then DM is a position that needs to be addressed this summer and not give Garner 2-3 seasons to reach manhood.
 

Andersons Dietician

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I think if genuinely there is a good option for the position then yeah we should go for it but if there isn’t we can probably muddle through another season with Matic, McT and Fred. Although I don’t think Fred or McT are DM’s.

Kinda also depends on what Pogba is doing and where Ole sees Pogba playing and if he’s in a 2 who is partnering him.
 

Goku23

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Its a real shame Matic isnt younger what a midfield of him Fred Pogba and Bruno where can we get anothet DM of Matic quality ? Ive not seen Partey enough to know if hes as good or even better
 

Mark Pawelek

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I'd like 2 specialist DMCs. Able to compete against top clubs and players, who can resist the press, with good distribution.
- Matic :- weak when pressed hard. Too slow.
- McTominay & Fred :- no experience playing the single midfield pivot role

Then again, I'd also want a right-winger, striker, new left-back, another centre-back, ... United must prioritize. There should be no such thing as good enough players United are happy with. Every player should always be competing for their starting place. Complacency breeds laziness and sloppiness.

This summer:- stick - we haven't resources to get everyone needed.
Summer of 2021:- twist
 
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Bestietom

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The bar has been risen in the last few years, and we need 2 for each position now, if we want to compete. It will be 100 points needed every season now, to win the Premiership.
 

Fosu-Mens

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Pogba should be sold, even if there are some reports of a willingness to resign a new improved deal... If we suddenly go 2 games without a win, he will be getting Raiola to do his dirty work again. While I think PP is our best player, there is a mismatch with his sunny day personality and the "hard work and grit" OGS has been able to instil in a number of the players. And we have Bruno, which makes PP less crucial against deep-lying defences.

So assuming we sell PP, we would need 1 or 2 central midfielders. Matic, Fred and McTominay are not good enough on the ball (efficient ball-handling and passing ability and range) when the team is in possession.
Dependent on availability, both Partey and Tonali should be targets that short and long term would improve our starting 11. Partey still has not signed a new contract afaik so his £45m clause is still in play, and Tonali's Brescia are soon to be relegated.
Both are better passers, more consistent and better on the ball compared to our current options and are hard-working players with the assumed "right mentality".

If we are able to get both players, with enough £ left for Sancho, then we should seriously consider it. Still, Sancho should be our main priority.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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The bar has been risen in the last few years, and we need 2 for each position now, if we want to compete. It will be 100 points needed every season now, to win the Premiership.
This season we've played 4-2-3-1 with two DMs behind the AM. Pogba, Matic, Fred, and McTominay have all been shuffled as the two DMs. That's 4players for 2 positions and if you break it down it's 2 players for 1 position. If Pogba stays and we persist with the 4-2-3-1 then I don't see why we would need a DM
 

Eckers99

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I would say we need a player similar to Carrick who can shield the back 4 decent and play-make from deep.

There will be games where the opposition would mark Bruno or Pogba (if he stays) out, we need a deep play makers to offset it.
That would be the ideal. Someone who could read the game well and shield the back 4, as well has having the complete passing range (to help us launch quick attacks from deep) would be fantastic within the current set up.
 

roseguy64

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The only position we need is RW, and it should be prioritized.

Signings in other positions depend. If a top player in any position is available for the right price we should look to strengthen, but we don't have to sign in any other position, and we most certainly don't need to break the bank or overpay for other positions.
This is my current thinking also. Based on what's happened in the January window and if Pogba doesn't leave. Anything else would then depend on who Solskjaer sees as Bruno's rotation and how he rates Dalot/Laird re: another fullback and Martial+ Ighalo+Greenwood versus getting a striker in to replace Ighalo and start ahead of Martial.
 

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A top cb to partner Harry would be a help and Scotty can take up the running, rather than sitting. Gives us a bit more variety in mf instead of a dedicated dm. If Bailly could stay fit and calm down a touch, we might already have the answer.