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UNITED ACADEMY

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The virus...
Do you think it's good thing if our most influential player in the team allows his agent to speak shit in public and as a result creating circus in the media/news?
 

Posh Red

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Do you think it's good thing if our most influential player in the team allows his agent to speak shit in public and as a result creating circus in the media/news?
Didn’t this happen with Ronaldo once a year at Madrid? Didn’t seem to do them much harm in terms of success. People get far too worked up about this stuff if you ask me
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Didn’t this happen with Ronaldo once a year at Madrid? Didn’t seem to do them much harm in terms of success. People get far too worked up about this stuff if you ask me
To be fair, my mate didn’t like it at that time and wanted him to go after the final CL and Ronaldo wasn’t even our most influential player in the dressing room like Pogba is right now. May be if Rio Ferdinand who was one of our most influential player said it times and times instead of Ronaldo, more people will work up about it.
 

laughtersassassin

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Anyone shitting it for our club inevitably not replacing him and trying to use our current midfield next season?


It would be suicide but it's what I expect.
 

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To be fair, my mate didn’t like it at that time and wanted him to go after the final CL and Ronaldo wasn’t even our most influential player in the dressing room like Pogba is right now. May be if Rio Ferdinand who was one of our most influential player said it times and times instead of Ronaldo, more people will work up about it.
I was talking about when Ronaldo was at Madrid. He flirted with other clubs fairly regularly in his last few years there. It’s part of the game and lots of players do it, so I just find it easier to ignore it for what it is. The video with Shaw kind of proves that it doesn’t really seem to have a negative impact on the morale in the dressing room.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I was talking about when Ronaldo was at Madrid. He flirted with other clubs fairly regularly in his last few years there. It’s part of the game and lots of players do it, so I just find it easier to ignore it for what it is. The video with Shaw kind of proves that it doesn’t really seem to have a negative impact on the morale in the dressing room.
Not sure how I missed the Real Madrid word but Why do we care about Ronaldo at Madrid, this is Manchester United not Real Madrid. We don‘t do that in here. This kind of stuffs will set bad example in my opinion as Pogba is like our most influential player, others will look at him as example.
 

Jeppers7

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It’s been obvious for years that Pogba is a massive positive influence in the dressing room, wherever he is.
 

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Anyone shitting it for our club inevitably not replacing him and trying to use our current midfield next season?


It would be suicide but it's what I expect.
im thinking making him the highest paid player in the league is an absolutely horrible idea especially given all the evidence over his last contract. Is he a good player? Sure when he’s into it. He seems like a nice and influential guy behind the scenes. Do we need an influential and very highly paid player coming out in the press every month or 2 and kicking the club? not really but too much is made of it I agree. It’s all about money at the end of the day. Do we really need another attacking midfielder, the most expensive player in the league that doesn’t even really fit our best 11 anymore? Left wing, Right wing. Box to box, #10, Dm. He’s played them all to try and unlock him. We bought Bruno in to replace him and finally got something 100% right. Build around Bruno not pogba. I really hope the board hold their nerve and get as much for him as possible and finally let him achieve his dream of leaving Manchester. More years of this isn’t good for him or us.
 

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He's played well in the past couple of months but let's not forget what a circus it's been and there will be plenty of options to replace and probably a lot less in wages
 

laughtersassassin

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im thinking making him the highest paid player in the league is an absolutely horrible idea especially given all the evidence over his last contract. Is he a good player? Sure when he’s into it. He seems like a nice and influential guy behind the scenes. Do we need an influential and very highly paid player coming out in the press every month or 2 and kicking the club? not really but too much is made of it I agree. It’s all about money at the end of the day. Do we really need another attacking midfielder, the most expensive player in the league that doesn’t even really fit our best 11 anymore? Left wing, Right wing. Box to box, #10, Dm. He’s played them all to try and unlock him. We bought Bruno in to replace him and finally got something 100% right. Build around Bruno not pogba. I really hope the board hold their nerve and get as much for him as possible and finally let him achieve his dream of leaving Manchester. More years of this isn’t good for him or us.
Literally missed the entire point of my post.

It doesn't matter if it's a circus. Replacing him with a new brilliant midfielder will be vital

McTom Fred Matic and VDB are not good enough options as a group going forward.

We will need someone who is really good quality no matter what you think of Pogba.

We are clearly way better with him and our current options therefore he has to be Replaced.
 

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Literally missed the entire point of my post.

It doesn't matter if it's a circus. Replacing him with a new brilliant midfielder will be vital

McTom Fred Matic and VDB are not good enough options as a group going forward.

We will need someone who is really good quality no matter what you think of Pogba.

We are clearly way better with him and our current options therefore he has to be Replaced.
We aren’t clearly way better with him. He affects the balance. He’s cost us more goals that he’s scored in the last 12 months. We’ve already replaced him with a better fit- Bruno. VDB as his hopefully improving backup. Sorted. Matic has needed replacing since the beginning of last season and that’s the way our money needs to go if we want a balanced team. Imagine we will most likely end up with DDG and PP as the highest paid players in the league (both trying their best to leave for years) and fecking Sanchez too. Disaster area! I hope we don’t fall into the same trap again with Pogba. That’s all I was saying.
 

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Literally missed the entire point of my post.

It doesn't matter if it's a circus. Replacing him with a new brilliant midfielder will be vital

McTom Fred Matic and VDB are not good enough options as a group going forward.

We will need someone who is really good quality no matter what you think of Pogba.

We are clearly way better with him and our current options therefore he has to be Replaced.
That’s all you will get from him on PP tbh. Even if your post was ‘what do you think of that goal he scored’ - the response would be the same word for word.

Our #6 is a divisive figure no doubt!

Regarding your actual point - I echo it 100%. If he’s to leave, we can’t just replace him with another press machine. The on the ball quality we will be losing in that area of the pitch must be replaced with real quality. Otherwise it will be another season of Bruno playing up front and the task of breaking down stubborn, deep teams left to Scott and Fred - which isn’t ideal and will lead to more disappointing draws.
 

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That’s all you will get from him on PP tbh. Even if your post was ‘what do you think of that goal he scored’ - the response would be the same word for word.

Our #6 is a divisive figure no doubt!

Regarding your actual point - I echo it 100%. If he’s to leave, we can’t just replace him with another press machine. The on the ball quality we will be losing in that area of the pitch must be replaced with real quality. Otherwise it will be another season of Bruno playing up front and the task of breaking down stubborn, deep teams left to Scott and Fred - which isn’t ideal and will lead to more disappointing draws.
I still think he’s a class player, he’s scored some dingers and he’s got a nice long pass (which isn’t really any use at all against the low block) I just think in our system he slows us down too much when we attack (0 assists this year but 3 last year and I’d wager they are from early in the season as the most attacking midfielder) he offers very little to nothing in the defensive phase which isn’t good when teams are constantly trying to sit in and counter us.

His best position for us by far was in Bruno’s role and since Bruno came in beyond the usual hype I haven’t seen much evidence they compliment each other all that much. When have Bruno and Pogba torn a really good team apart like their billing on paper suggests? That pairing loses the midfield battle. I think Bruno’s form is totally independent of whether Pogba stays or not. So no I don’t think we need to go like for like or anything like that. I hope they invest the money from Pogba into a position we need filling like RW, CB, DM, backup RB, ST etc

It’s not PPs fault the club didn’t build a good enough team around him while he was actually committed but Matic and Fred were both brought in to help free Pogba and even after all that he’s still quoted about leaving every chance he got. He forced the club to finally act and they got Bruno who’s got the right mentality to take us forward. Pogba to Bruno. VDB is the cover. That’s the upgrade and money reinvested before it even became a problem, for once! Fred/MCT for box to box. It’s Matic who badly needs replacing now.
 

berbatrick

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I still think he’s a class player, he’s scored some dingers and he’s got a nice long pass (which isn’t really any use at all against the low block) I just think in our system he slows us down too much when we attack (0 assists this year but 3 last year and I’d wager they are from early in the season as the most attacking midfielder) he offers very little to nothing in the defensive phase which isn’t good when teams are constantly trying to sit in and counter us.
He hasn't been the most attacking midfielder since the end of 2018/19 (when he had double digit assists). He started 2019/20 as part of the 2 in a 4-2-3-1, with Lingard as the 10 and Pereira on the right, he got injured within a month, and he came back in the same position but with Bruno at 10 and Greenwood RW.
 

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He hasn't been the most attacking midfielder since the end of 2018/19 (when he had double digit assists). He started 2019/20 as part of the 2 in a 4-2-3-1, with Lingard as the 10 and Pereira on the right, he got injured within a month, and he came back in the same position but with Bruno at 10 and Greenwood RW.
its still a very long time to go without an assist for a supposedly world class midfielder.I think he is class I just don’t think he’s what we need anymore. Bruno is a better fit in his best role. If we could get them all playing really well and aggressively together then sign me up but I’m not sold on it up to now. Maybe a better DM would open it up for Pogba again but as I said above. Fred and Matic were brought in to free Pogba and he still wasn’t happy at the end of the day. I don’t really know what else the club can do to accommodate him apart from making him the highest paid player in the country and hoping for the best. I think they would be making another expensive mistake
 

berbatrick

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its still a very long time to go without an assist for a supposedly world class midfielder.I think he is class I just don’t think he’s what we need anymore. Bruno is a better fit in his best role. If we could get them all playing really well and aggressively together then sign me up but I’m not sold on it up to now. Maybe a better DM would open it up for Pogba again but as I said above. Fred and Matic were brought in to free Pogba and he still wasn’t happy at the end of the day. I don’t really know what else the club can do to accommodate him apart from making him the highest paid player in the country and hoping for the best. I think they would be making another expensive mistake
I think his form since November has been over-praised, and his drop is visible statistically (assists is one measure, there's also total passes, long passes, key passes, dribbles, all down from previous seasons). But if used properly* he is a very scary and multi-dimensional midfielder. Short and long passing, dribbling, strength, flicks, crosses, tackles, defensive headers, good shot. A very rare package.

I think his first season was quite special (setting up many many chances with through balls for Ibra and others from a box-to-box position), his second was very good alongside Matic (same position). He has had exactly one spell as the attacking midfielder in a 4-3-3, in his third season with Ole as caretaker, and his numbers in that spell were stellar. This was Fred's first season, he was quite terrible, not sure what conclusions can be made about that. Since then he's been injured a lot, his output has been down.
Other than that one spell, he's never been in a 4-3-3, and he's always been behind a #10 (Mkhi, Mata, Lingard, Pereira) in a 4-2-3-1.


*4-3-3 with 1 DM, him and Bruno both attacking, rather than what he have where Bruno is level with the striker and Pogba hangs around with Maguire. I think it was obvious after Ole's initial half season that the way forward was to buy a Carrick-type player to anchor and dictate while he and Herrera/another go forward and create/press, but it was never tried, Herrera was sold, and we still don't have a defensive midfielder who can dictate the tempo of the game.
 
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Ali Dia

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I think his form since November has been over-praised, and his drop is visible statistically (assists is one measure, there's also total passes, long passes, key passes, dribbles, all down from previous seasons). But if used properly* he is a very scary and multi-dimensional midfielder. Short and long passing, dribbling, strength, flicks, crosses, tackles, defensive headers, good shot. A very rare package.

I think his first season was quite special (setting up many many chances with through balls for Ibra and others from a box-to-box position), his second was very good alongside Matic (same position). He has had exactly one spell as the attacking midfielder in a 4-3-3, in his third season with Ole as caretaker, and his numbers in that spell were stellar. This was Fred's first season, he was quite terrible, not sure what conclusions can be made about that. Since then he's been injured a lot, his output has been down.
Other than that one spell, he's never been in a 4-3-3, and he's always been behind a #10 (Mkhi, Mata, Lingard, Pereira) in a 4-2-3-1.


*4-3-3 with 1 DM, him and Bruno both attacking, rather than what he have where Bruno is level with the striker and Pogba hangs around with Maguire. I think it was obvious after Ole's initial half season that the way forward was to buy a Carrick-type player to anchor and dictate while he and Herrera/another go forward and create/press, but it was never tried, Herrera was sold, and we still don't have a defensive midfielder who can dictate the tempo of the game.
Yeah you’re reminding me what we had been missing from him for a while but I totally agree and his goals have been a big boost for us. He’s a devastating player on his day but I do think he’s got to be the most attacking of any 3. The defensive side he does fine but he’s also liable at any time to let you down overplaying/overthinking it and half heartedly tracking back. I think these have always been traits of his game that we could carry but that doesn’t suit us anymore with Bruno losing the ball for fun ahead of him. If we got a monster for the middle behind them and they became a great midfield I’d be delighted, I want all our players to do well, but I don’t think they looked anything special apart from a few glimpses during the Matic resurgence at the end of last season. It’s looked a bit like Lampard-Gerrard or something like that. Ole was almost forcing Pogba into the side at one point and he played too well to drop but I still don’t think he’ll suit our style long term. I’d be delighted to be wrong.
 

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Yeah you’re reminding me what we had been missing from him for a while but I totally agree and his goals have been a big boost for us. He’s a devastating player on his day but I do think he’s got to be the most attacking of any 3. The defensive side he does fine but he’s also liable at any time to let you down overplaying/overthinking it and half heartedly tracking back. I think these have always been traits of his game that we could carry but that doesn’t suit us anymore with Bruno losing the ball for fun ahead of him. If we got a monster for the middle behind them and they became a great midfield I’d be delighted, I want all our players to do well, but I don’t think they looked anything special apart from a few glimpses during the Matic resurgence at the end of last season. It’s looked a bit like Lampard-Gerrard or something like that. Ole was almost forcing Pogba into the side at one point and he played too well to drop but I still don’t think he’ll suit our style long term. I’d be delighted to be wrong.
I'm basing this off Kante-Kovacic-Mount, Rodri-Gundogan-Silva (or Fernandinho-Silva-KdB), previously Casemeiro-Modric-Kroos. It's been done elsewhere, here it's missing one piece (the defensive mid). No idea if it will work but the potential is so high!
 

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Still the kind of player you'd be mad to actively want rid of from your club, in my opinion. No, he's no longer the player we'd miss most if he left. Perhaps he's not even in the top three any more. That's partly credit to McT and Fred showing they are a valid first-team partnership for us. But still, Pogba is the kind of Rolls Royce you should be able to roll out at a club aiming to win the big trophies.

I don't read the sports press really so I don't care what his agent is up to at any given moment. As for wages and transfer fees, if there's one thing I trust Woodward and his cabal to do it's to make sure we're not overspending. All I care about is what happens on the pitch, and this season Pogba's quality has won matches.

If he left, we would have a star-shaped to fill in the squad. Given we already have other positions to attend to, I don't see why we'd want to deliberately give ourselves that problem.
 

Fahad Jawaid

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When is he coming back? we need him to come back and be at its best before the Chelsea and City away matches.
 
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Rozay

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When is he coming back? we need him to come back and be at its best before the Chelsea and City away matches.
Unlikely he’ll be back for those I wouldn’t think. My non-professional observation is that he looked to suffer a muscle tear (don’t know how slight or severe). Ole said he won’t be back this month. Middle of March I’d say is my earliest hope.

We do miss him though, and should he leave in the summer we absolutely need to get a similar (ish) type of midfielder for me.
 

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Unlikely he’ll be back for those I wouldn’t think. My non-professional observation is that he looked to suffer a muscle tear (don’t know how slight or severe). Ole said he won’t be back this month. Middle of March I’d say is my earliest hope.

We do miss him though, and should he leave in the summer we absolutely need to get a similar (ish) type of midfielder for me.
Not many are there who give that kind of output. Although I am sure we would be working behind the scenes for that. But we do absolutely need a deep lying playmaker which was so evident yesterday as Newcastle pressed us zonely and we were consistently getting caught out simply because we didn't have a player with influence similar to him
 

Rozay

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Not many are there who give that kind of output. Although I am sure we would be working behind the scenes for that. But we do absolutely need a deep lying playmaker which was so evident yesterday as Newcastle pressed us zonely and we were consistently getting caught out simply because we didn't have a player with influence similar to him
Tbh, I do worry whether we are actually looking for this type. We’re rarely said to be interested in this type of player. It’s either a hard running defensive type or a number 10 who can make a difference - but very rarely are we said to be simply looking for a midfielder who can do some darn ‘midfielding’. Except the occasional links to Saúl perhaps.

I just want someone who occupies the considerable midfield space behind Bruno who is comfortable on the ball, happy to be the person who has the most touches of the ball in our team in all areas who can manipulate it 5 yards and not just 40. We need a midfielder who can play the short game I think, someone with intricacy who can evade the press.

What I’d give for Frenkie De Jong! Or a Verratti who can stay fit. Or if we’re dreaming - Paul Scholes! I think our midfield options bar Pogba are more about moments to decide a game rather than control it.
 

TrustInJanuzaj

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Tbh, I do worry whether we are actually looking for this type. We’re rarely said to be interested in this type of player. It’s either a hard running defensive type or a number 10 who can make a difference - but very rarely are we said to be simply looking for a midfielder who can do some darn ‘midfielding’. Except the occasional links to Saúl perhaps.

I just want someone who occupies the considerable midfield space behind Bruno who is comfortable on the ball, happy to be the person who has the most touches of the ball in our team in all areas who can manipulate it 5 yards and not just 40. We need a midfielder who can play the short game I think, someone with intricacy who can evade the press.

What I’d give for Frenkie De Jong! Or a Verratti who can stay fit. Or if we’re dreaming - Paul Scholes! I think our midfield options bar Pogba are more about moments to decide a game rather than control it.
Even amongst our own fans I don't think there's enough of an understanding that this is absolutely the player we need. There's a reason why all of the absolute best teams in the world have had a player like this, Utd with Scholes, Barca with Xavi, Bayern with Kimmich/Thiago, Modric/Kroos at Madrid. They aren't all exactly the same type of player but what they have in common is their press resistance and ability to control the tempo of a game of football. It remains one of the hardest attributes to find in world football.
 

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Tbh, I do worry whether we are actually looking for this type. We’re rarely said to be interested in this type of player. It’s either a hard running defensive type or a number 10 who can make a difference - but very rarely are we said to be simply looking for a midfielder who can do some darn ‘midfielding’. Except the occasional links to Saúl perhaps.

I just want someone who occupies the considerable midfield space behind Bruno who is comfortable on the ball, happy to be the person who has the most touches of the ball in our team in all areas who can manipulate it 5 yards and not just 40. We need a midfielder who can play the short game I think, someone with intricacy who can evade the press.

What I’d give for Frenkie De Jong! Or a Verratti who can stay fit. Or if we’re dreaming - Paul Scholes! I think our midfield options bar Pogba are more about moments to decide a game rather than control it.
I can't see this player being a priority for us in the market. Will probably be another year of McTominay and Fred because I'm not confident we'll sign an out and out defensive midfielder/deep lying playmaker either. Van de Beek will probably feature more and I think that Hannibal will be given opportunities, as he appears to be a good fit in terms of bringing many of the qualities you describe.
 

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Even amongst our own fans I don't think there's enough of an understanding that this is absolutely the player we need. There's a reason why all of the absolute best teams in the world have had a player like this, Utd with Scholes, Barca with Xavi, Bayern with Kimmich/Thiago, Modric/Kroos at Madrid. They aren't all exactly the same type of player but what they have in common is their press resistance and ability to control the tempo of a game of football. It remains one of the hardest attributes to find in world football.
I think fans can’t really see beyond goals and assists with most players now. Then there’s probably a latent dislike for Paul Pogba added to it - so the tendency will be to look to discredit for those fans.

We have had some great goalscoring midfielders in the PL in recent times, and it’s almost as if people forget that midfielders are not strikers. Nor are they even defenders really. I appreciate the need for an offensive contribution - but control of a football match, with a positive approach, will lead to more chances and goals in general anyway.

Our game is a percentage game. Looking for a moment. I’d be keen to see the average distance of our passes in comparison to say City. Was watching the game yesterday and thought to myself how all of our midfield passes seem to be at least 15-20 yards. That isn’t good enough. You can’t control a game or knit play playing exclusively over those distances. It’s the 5-7 yard passes, at a good tempo, that move teams around and control matches. You will always be playing a percentage game if all your passes are 15-20 yards plus.
 

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Anyone shitting it for our club inevitably not replacing him and trying to use our current midfield next season?


It would be suicide but it's what I expect.
Think it’ll be the line of ‘VdB has had a year to settle and now he is ready, with Hannibal and Garner being promoted to the first team’.

...which I’d actually be fine with, so long as we bring in a new centre back and forward;

Henderson

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lost7

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Thinking of challenging for the title with a midfield of McTominay/Fred next year is delusional. A Pogba replacement is as important as a dominant CB or a top striker
 

Adam-Utd

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Thinking of challenging for the title with a midfield of McTominay/Fred next year is delusional. A Pogba replacement is as important as a dominant CB or a top striker
Not really, liverpool won with Henderson and wijnaldum. We just have to make sure we have creativity elsewhere. We need our right winger to be involved and our striker not be a passenger.

mctominay has been chipping in with plenty of goals too, the midfield boys do their job fine.
 

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Wonder if there a slim chance he could make the bench for Palace as that game has now been moved to 3 March
 

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Tbh, I do worry whether we are actually looking for this type. We’re rarely said to be interested in this type of player. It’s either a hard running defensive type or a number 10 who can make a difference - but very rarely are we said to be simply looking for a midfielder who can do some darn ‘midfielding’. Except the occasional links to Saúl perhaps.

I just want someone who occupies the considerable midfield space behind Bruno who is comfortable on the ball, happy to be the person who has the most touches of the ball in our team in all areas who can manipulate it 5 yards and not just 40. We need a midfielder who can play the short game I think, someone with intricacy who can evade the press.

What I’d give for Frenkie De Jong! Or a Verratti who can stay fit. Or if we’re dreaming - Paul Scholes! I think our midfield options bar Pogba are more about moments to decide a game rather than control it.
I agree. It should be priority. I think Tielemans is one we overlooked, doing that job for Leicester.
 

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I agree. It should be priority. I think Tielemans is one we overlooked, doing that job for Leicester.
He’s really grown in the last 6 months as a player. I always thought he was a little overhyped personally, but he’s been quality of late. As was mentioned above, I think Hannibal is one who does have those qualities longer term.
 

Rozay

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Not really, liverpool won with Henderson and wijnaldum. We just have to make sure we have creativity elsewhere. We need our right winger to be involved and our striker not be a passenger.

mctominay has been chipping in with plenty of goals too, the midfield boys do their job fine.
Goals isn’t the ‘job’ of a central midfielder per se, it’s a bit of a bonus tbh. The midfield hasn’t been doing it’s job fine I’d argue - we barely ever play a game of football against anyone where we do not concede many chances or we can sustain attacks. Even games we win by a few goals are typically games won on the counter. The scorer of the goals should not be a red herring. We struggle to keep the ball well enough and knit any patterns of play. Any opponent with a bit of a press to their game immediately ruffles us, and then we have to win heroic end-to-end games against just about any old shite. The fact that McTominay or another midfielder may happen to be the goalscorer in that particular game isn’t the full story I don’t think. We need to stop getting drawn into these gunfights with 80% of teams we face.
 

Adam-Utd

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Goals isn’t the ‘job’ of a central midfielder per se, it’s a bit of a bonus tbh. The midfield hasn’t been doing it’s job fine I’d argue - we barely ever play a game of football against anyone where we do not concede many chances or we can sustain attacks. Even games we win by a few goals are typically games won on the counter. The scorer of the goals should not be a red herring. We struggle to keep the ball well enough and knit any patterns of play. Any opponent with a bit of a press to their game immediately ruffles us, and then we have to win heroic end-to-end games against just about any old shite. The fact that McTominay or another midfielder may happen to be the goalscorer in that particular game isn’t the full story I don’t think. We need to stop getting drawn into these gunfights with 80% of teams we face.
think this is more down to team setup than individuals. Team coaching is what helps you recycle the ball and sustain attacks, but we clearly don't work on that.

Both mctominay+fred have shown good ball retention in tight spaces, the issue is they often sit so close to the defence that they get pressed from the attack + midfield and then it's very difficult to escape without losing it.

Goals are relevant as the guy i'm replying too says they aren't good enough, but they work just as hard as the Liverpool midfield who aren't exactly chipping in with goals/assists regularly.
 

Rozay

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think this is more down to team setup than individuals. Team coaching is what helps you recycle the ball and sustain attacks, but we clearly don't work on that.

Both mctominay+fred have shown good ball retention in tight spaces, the issue is they often sit so close to the defence that they get pressed from the attack + midfield and then it's very difficult to escape without losing it.

Goals are relevant as the guy i'm replying too says they aren't good enough, but they work just as hard as the Liverpool midfield who aren't exactly chipping in with goals/assists regularly.
Honestly, the Liverpool midfield is one of the worst things to happen for any midfield debates I swear :lol: . Now it will forever be that any team doesn’t need to strive for top midfielders because Liverpool didn’t have top midfielders.

Liverpool won a lot in spite of not having top midfielders, this is true. We clearly can’t, so having top midfielders here is a logical thing to strive for. Klopp got what he could from them, but he himself acknowledged that it wasn’t what he wanted. What many haven’t realised is that he has been actively trying to improve the quality of his midfield for years. The signings haven’t worked out, but he clearly sees the room for improvement. He tried to sign Fekir, signed Keita and has signed Thiago because he clearly does want top quality in the middle of the park. The only difference is that in the absence of it, the team has gotten on with it and worked with what they have.

City broke the points record with Delph at LB, which in theory could open the door for any team to look at their average LB and say ‘what does it matter, City player Delph’. And Liverpool’s midfielders aren’t bad anyway, and would argue that they are better players than Fred and McTominay in any event.

I agree that team set up is important, but one of our biggest issue in recent years has been breaking teams down who sot back against us. Over the course of a season, having teams sit back and asking Fred and McTominay to open them up isn’t going to work. A team of our standing shouldn’t have a midfield that is better without the ball than they are with it.

p.s - please don’t see my usage of emoji as an intent to condescend, was more of a thinking out loud and laughing at the general than at anything you said.
 

rotherham_red

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Thinking of challenging for the title with a midfield of McTominay/Fred next year is delusional. A Pogba replacement is as important as a dominant CB or a top striker
For me, if I was to rank our needs, it would be:

1) DM
2) RW
3) CB
4) Striker

The DM is by far the biggest need. Neither McTominay or Fred are those players and we really do handicap ourselves when we play the both of them together. I understand the reasons why, but it doesn't make it any less of an imperfect solution. We need that proper controlling dictator in midfield. Someone who sets the tempo and can offer the protection to the defence which is currently lacking. If we had a proper 6, we'd likely see a much lesser need for a CB. Of course, we'd still need one, but we would be able to make do for at least another season.
 

rotherham_red

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He’s really grown in the last 6 months as a player. I always thought he was a little overhyped personally, but he’s been quality of late. As was mentioned above, I think Hannibal is one who does have those qualities longer term.
I don't see Hannibal as being that player. For me, he's a Pogba-lite though not as complete (though who is?).

Any three of Garner, Levitt or Galbraith could do that job but I think it depends on how they progress beyond the loan spells in the case of the first two, and into next season in the case of the latter. An experienced head in that position would be the best purchase, but after Matic's contract last year, I think we're going to push through until he's in the last year of his contract.

Who knows, maybe our long-term plan isn't a 4-3-3, but instead a 4-2-3-1 with a mobile, high energy pivot with quality on and off the ball?