I don't know about the bolded part. One player doesn't encourage a team to be possession-based. Especially seeing how we play today where it feels like Bruno has all freedom and is encouraged to release the ball as soon as possible to unleash a striker. Against Brighton, it felt like Pogba has been on the same mission so this is certainly no coincidence. We want to take risks by skipping most of the opposition midfield. It ties with Ole talking about quick vertical passes and fast attacks. It somewhat fits our players as well having Bruno play his natural game, having Strikers/Wingers who are best operating in space and having a double pivot that works best when just asked to shield the back4.I'd agree re attacking options & Donny at 8 - which kind of ties in with my issues with our midfield setup because I feel Donny at 8 would naturally be positioned further forwards, encourage a more possession based offensive game and be less cautious than McFred (who for the record are a good pairing for games in the CL or Pool, City, Chelsea away etc but overkill for 80% of games). I actually think Sancho (or similar) is a more important signing than Haaland, even though Haaland is a 'better' individual player because we're so unbalanced & I also am a believer in Greenwood's longer term potential at 9. It'd be nice to see AWB with a wide forward who knows the role positionally as well before we judge him from an offensive standpoint as well.
Just adding VDB into the mix alone won't change that. On the contrary, without interplay DVB wouldn't have anything that plays for him in midfield. Plus, I always feel him in an 8 role, would take him further away from the final third where I feel, his strengths lie. I mean, I get it, he is a quick thinker, good at finding space and a good short passer so he "has the attributes" to play in midfield. But wouldn't that be more or less the same like asking Kagawa to play in CM or Mata or maybe even Martial?
I feel VDB would be utilized the best as some sort of shadow-striker, false-nine playing close with team mates, where his (last years) fine finishing and his ability to play off other players using small spaces could be utilized. At the end of the day, he often was compared to T. Mueller, a "Raumdeuter", a player who roams and pops up somewhere unexpected to score or assist. Having him further away from goal with a bigger responsibility in defense would somewhat prevent him from doing that. He is neither particularly good in dribbling, nor has the passing range and certainly isn't known for his defensive contribution.
Shoving him into the midfield would require more things to work, Bruno would have to play a bit further back (something I'd like to see anyway but his numbers rectify the current state of affairs), we would have to buy a dominant DM or Fred or McTominay step up big time. I don't think, that is feasible.
I hope, that DVB gets the chance in Martial absence to show what he can do in a sort-of-striker role. Makes it easier to evaluate and decide, which route to go with him.
Currently, there is no way to really create a balanced midfield out of DVB, Bruno, Pogba, Fred and McTominay in my eyes, which certainly is a problem resulting from suboptimal squad composition. We have four players there that don't really fit a traditional role description...
Pogba isn't an AM but his workrate lets him appear as only a make-shift CM without the ball.
DVB isn't a traditional AM due to missing dribbling and passing, has some workrate but lacks physical and defensive contribution to be an allround CM.
Fred and McTominay have workrate in abundance but neither is particularly strong in defense to be considered DM while their technical abilities let them appear as only medium CMs.
I am over-critical here to prove a point: while you can benefit from having a (one) player not fitting a traditional role, it becomes a bigger an bigger challenge to create a midfield, when most of your players play a somewhat special way. Of course you could get around that by having a very special-tailored system around, to limit the effects of individual weaknesses but that's something I feel we lack.
I think, currently we are in a relatively comfortable situation. I agree, that striker doesn't need to be Tier 1 to fill in but I think, this could also be applied to RW, where I agree with the other poster, Raphinha or Neto look like valid options. I guess, we will be able to make just one bigger signing so observing the market and act accordingly would be my way to proceed.I think it's all about a RW plus a Josh King, Callum Wilson, Ings, Watkins type striker (not them necessarily but someone who is in their twenties, has pace and has played as a 9 their whole career). In an ideal world you get Haaland & Sancho but I'm trying to be realistic here with who we sign at 9!