Potential Matic Replacements

SAF is the GOAT

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Raiola is Ryan Gravenberch's agent - no thanks
 

Abraxas

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Except if you're playing forward intensively, you'll want someone who is good at progressing the ball, and that seems to be one of Rice's weakest areas. Arguably, you are more rather than less reliant on that with a more direct style rather than a more patient one? But maybe they figure Pogba and Fred gives us enough in those areas. Who knows, I'm not even sure if we're still trying to be a more possession-oriented side or not. It looked that way earlier in the season, but not so much towards the end.

Kalvin Phillips is stats-wise remarkably similar to McTominay, I'd say. At least for the areas I've looked at.
Of course, we need somebody who can play through the lines. A Man Utd player should be able to do this in general, it's a weakness of our current players but should really be a basic expectation of a central midfielder at our level.

But it's not necessary that they play high numbers of passes per game, or that they complete 92% of passes, that is my point. Or at least it doesn't seem to be key to Ole's current thinking that our midfield operates that way, it may be that we don't have a player capable of playing in that manner or it may be stylistic, or both. The other way of progressing quickly is having players that can physically get to the ball, turn it over, can carry the ball, that's maybe where he's looking at Rice as a fairly robust but rounded player. What we have seen is that Ole favours these competitive players that offer some protection, he has tended to sacrifice Pogba despite being a better passer.

Ultimately I'm just speculating here as to the manager's thinking as I really don't know, it may be that he is trying to progress our style so the current methodology doesn't mean that much to the incoming transfer. But Rice does seem to make some kind of sense in accordance with what we have seen. Also I'm struggling to think of these names that offer us that Carrick/Scholes like playmaking ability, I think we would have to gamble on an import because it is clear Tielemans, Ndidi, Phillips, Rice and many other PL products that are rated do not fit this. There was some Italian lad mentioned that people seem high on that fits within this ilk but I've no idea, it would be a huge gamble.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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Every top club has scouted every good young player in Europe. There are no complete surprises, especially for players from Portugal, Spain or France.
Well, if rumours are to be believed, Ole pushed hard for Moises Caicedo. Maybe, he will look to go back into the market for a young all-action midfielder.
 

MadMike

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The biggest dilemma is whether we go for a purely defensive midfielder, with an aim to allow Pogba and Bruno to play in the same midfield, or whether we go for more of an all-rounder one or maybe a deep-lying playmaker.

I still think DM-Pogba-Bruno is the most risky direction to go for. First we don't know if Pogba will extend and whether we should plan the midfield around him. Secondly, that midfield will still be too risky for many games where the opposition isn't fully passive, because Pogba does like to dribble a lot through midfield and that creates problems for the DM.

I think having an all-rounder that can pivot with either of Fred/McT, or even a deep-lying playmaker that will allow Fred to go chase the ball and mimic the Jorginho-Kante arrangement of Chelsea, might be the preferable choices.
 
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The biggest dilemma is whether we go for a purely defensive midfielder, with an aim to allow Pogba and Bruno to play in the same midfield, or whether we go for more of an all-rounder one or maybe a deep-lying playmaker.

I still think DM-Pogba-Bruno is the most risky direction to go for. First we don't know if Pogba will extend and whether we should plan the midfield around him. Secondly, that midfield will be too risky for many games where the opposition isn't fully passive because Pogba does like to dribble a lot through midfield and that creates problems for the DM.

I think having an all-rounder that can pivot with either of Fred/McT, or a deep-lying playmaker that will allow Fred to go chase the ball and mimic the Jorginho-Kante arrangement of Chelsea might be the preferable choices.
I think the decision about who we buy has to be determined with knowing what’s happening with Pogba.

the Pogba contract dilemma needs to be resolved quickly. I say quickly, but mean shortly after the Euros finish.
 

MadMike

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I think the decision about who we buy has to be determined with knowing what’s happening with Pogba.

the Pogba contract dilemma needs to be resolved quickly. I say quickly, but mean shortly after the Euros finish.
That will affect VDB too. There's practically no need for Donny if Pogba extends and he might as well leave in search of more first team football. Because he won't get many more minutes than he did this year, with Pogba and Bruno vying for the the creative midfielder spot(s). His place and minutes can go to a youngster like Mejbri or Amad to build some experience here and there.
 
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That will affect VDB too. There's practically no need for Donny if Pogba extends and he might as well leave in search of more first team football. Because he won't get many more minutes than he did this year, with Pogba and Bruno vying for the the creative midfielder spot(s). His place and minutes can go to a youngster like Mejbri or Amad to build some experience here and there.
theres scope that DVDB, DM, Pogba, Bruno, someone on the right and Cavani could work.

I was encouraged by DVDB in the last league game - although it’s obviously only one game.

the other thing we need to do is determine where Pogba is going to play.

Or perhaps we do just use him as some sort of auxiliary player that can play in multiple positions - although I don’t think that’s best for either player or club.
 

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This thread has gone stat mad, by the way. Gone are the days when people actually sit down and watch these players.

For example, you have Bentacur, who is a bang-average player, at the top of some of these player comparisons. That should say it all really.

Don't get me wrong, stats are useful to use in certain situations but it seems people want the perfect player which we're not going to get.

Not sure whether Ole will get a 'Matic replacement' but he should be looking to get a player in that will compliment Fred, Pogba and McTominay. Maybe even VdB, too. Based on that, you'd guess that this player has to excel in defensive attributes because the aforementioned players, apart from probably Fred, lack this.

If I'm sticking to the EPL, I'd like someone like Jorginho. Similar to Carrick in that he reads the game well, gets on the ball, and starts play. Then next to him, we could have a more combative player like Fred or McTominay.

If you look at the double pivots around Europe, typically, it's what they do.

Kimmich - Goretzka
Jorginho - Kante
Veratti - Gueye
Witsel - Delaney
Kessie - Bennacer

Currently, we have Fred and McTominay, which is good. Certainly not as poor as people say anyway.

Whether people agree or not, I think Fred is our closest profile of player to Kimmich, Jorginho, Verratti, etc, in that he will start play and is able to couple that with decent defensive play. However, his passing, whilst progressive, can sometimes be a bit erratic and he doesn't always look assured on the ball. However, if we use stats to compare him to the deep-lying midfielders I mentioned earlier, he comes out on par with them, which is why you can't always focus too much on stats. That being said, on the whole, Fred does a good job starting our play and McTominay plays that box to box role quite well, too.

I think a lot of the time, when we lose games or fail to break down opposition teams, it due to our front four not being creative enough. We have wingers as opposed to wide attacking midfielders, which should be used more when we counter-attack, as opposed to trying to break teams down. This is why signing Sancho would be massive and why players like Amad, if he progresses the right way, will be the type of player we want in a 4231 formation but that's for another thread.

Going forward, watever Ole decides to do, I'm hoping the player we purchase - if we do of course purchase a player, then they will provide further balance to our side.
 
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Champ

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See subsequent post to the one you replied to.
Phillips and Rice are very very similar in terms of numbers, likie splitting hairs,

Anguissa isn't a holding/defensive midfielder, he has rarely played in that position.

Ward Prowse and Neve's stats are twisted due to them being the main free kick takers in their respective teams.

Again, stats witout context are meaningless.
 

RuudTom83

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Like has been mentioned the Pogba and Donny situation heavily impacts what Ole should look for in the transfer market. Also i would add Hannibal into the discussion because talent wise he is far to good not to given a path into the team.
 

justsomebloke

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Of course, we need somebody who can play through the lines. A Man Utd player should be able to do this in general, it's a weakness of our current players but should really be a basic expectation of a central midfielder at our level.

But it's not necessary that they play high numbers of passes per game, or that they complete 92% of passes, that is my point. Or at least it doesn't seem to be key to Ole's current thinking that our midfield operates that way, it may be that we don't have a player capable of playing in that manner or it may be stylistic, or both. The other way of progressing quickly is having players that can physically get to the ball, turn it over, can carry the ball, that's maybe where he's looking at Rice as a fairly robust but rounded player. What we have seen is that Ole favours these competitive players that offer some protection, he has tended to sacrifice Pogba despite being a better passer.

Ultimately I'm just speculating here as to the manager's thinking as I really don't know, it may be that he is trying to progress our style so the current methodology doesn't mean that much to the incoming transfer. But Rice does seem to make some kind of sense in accordance with what we have seen. Also I'm struggling to think of these names that offer us that Carrick/Scholes like playmaking ability, I think we would have to gamble on an import because it is clear Tielemans, Ndidi, Phillips, Rice and many other PL products that are rated do not fit this. There was some Italian lad mentioned that people seem high on that fits within this ilk but I've no idea, it would be a huge gamble.
That'll be Locatelli, at Sassuolo. I agree it seems very unclear just what we're looking for in this position, and the names that have been linked don't provide many clues. There's Llorente, whose only strong (or even adequate) area seems to be in the attacking third. There's Rice, who's just the opposite. And then there's Niguez, who statistically doesn't seem to stack up particularly impressively generally. Many people seem to assume that we're basically looking for a defensive midfielder to cover for Pogba and allow him to play in the pivot, but I'm not sure that is a valid assumption. I'm not really sure if "a Carrick type" is all that helpful either, as a starting point.

On the bolded part, what seems important to me is the ball-progressing stats rather than the general volume of passing or accuracy.
 

justsomebloke

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Phillips and Rice are very very similar in terms of numbers, likie splitting hairs,

Anguissa isn't a holding/defensive midfielder, he has rarely played in that position.

Ward Prowse and Neve's stats are twisted due to them being the main free kick takers in their respective teams.

Again, stats witout context are meaningless.
Okay, fine. What I'm trying to do here is finding some sort of reason why it'd make sense to think of Rice as a metronome type of player, because that's not something you can just assume. Personally I don't see that when I watch him play, and I don't see that in these stats either. And I don't have anything else, such as some scout being quoted to the effect that he has that ability or at least potential. But you think he does, and that the stats back that up. So help me out here?
 

justsomebloke

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I think the decision about who we buy has to be determined with knowing what’s happening with Pogba.

the Pogba contract dilemma needs to be resolved quickly. I say quickly, but mean shortly after the Euros finish.
I don't necessarily think that's true. It may very well be that the intention is to continue playing him in the forward line, so that you'd primarily be looking for someone to complement Fred in the pivot.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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The biggest dilemma is whether we go for a purely defensive midfielder, with an aim to allow Pogba and Bruno to play in the same midfield, or whether we go for more of an all-rounder one or maybe a deep-lying playmaker.

I still think DM-Pogba-Bruno is the most risky direction to go for. First we don't know if Pogba will extend and whether we should plan the midfield around him. Secondly, that midfield will still be too risky for many games where the opposition isn't fully passive, because Pogba does like to dribble a lot through midfield and that creates problems for the DM.

I think having an all-rounder that can pivot with either of Fred/McT, or even a deep-lying playmaker that will allow Fred to go chase the ball and mimic the Jorginho-Kante arrangement of Chelsea, might be the preferable choices.
There we go!

Chelsea have two deep-lying playmaker types in Jorginho and Gilmour, with two box-to-box midfielders in Kante and Kovacic. Going forward, they'd probably want another deep-lying playmaker just encase Jorginho was to get injured, as it'd be a lot for young Gilmour, but there's a nice blend between the four.
 
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justsomebloke

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Like has been mentioned the Pogba and Donny situation heavily impacts what Ole should look for in the transfer market. Also i would add Hannibal into the discussion because talent wise he is far to good not to given a path into the team.
Is that path to the CM pivot though. Also, I don't know if there's a Donny situation. The club has been pretty categorical he stays.
 

justsomebloke

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There we go!

Chelsea have two deep-lying playmaker types in Jorginho and Gilmour, with two box-to-box midfielders in Kante and Jorginho. Going forward, they'd probably want another deep-lying playmaker just encase Jorginho was to get injured, as it'd be a lot for young Gilmour, but there's a nice blend between the four.
I assume you mean Kante and Kovacic?
 

Champ

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Okay, fine. What I'm trying to do here is finding some sort of reason why it'd make sense to think of Rice as a metronome type of player, because that's not something you can just assume. Personally I don't see that when I watch him play, and I don't see that in these stats either. And I don't have anything else, such as some scout being quoted to the effect that he has that ability or at least potential. But you think he does, and that the stats back that up. So help me out here?
He has very decent passing statistics, he has a very very accurate long pass, he very much likes to tackle and then distribute the ball short, he also holds his position very well on the pitch (heat maps suggest he favours the right side more). All attributes you need for a holding metronomic style player.

The stats do back me up in this, He leads most passing stats in the West Ham side (showing his influence), He is level with or beats most similar players in similar setups.

He also carries the ball extremely well, which is another plus.

No assumptions from me, just based on what i see, read and hear.

You may beg to differ, which is fine.
 

Ali Dia

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Gravenberch already looks a baller who could still improve a lot. A Pogba replacement if I ever did see one but I reckon he’s another who could be trained to play any of the 3 positions or just go box to box. Press resistant. Nice passing and shooting. Mobile and plenty of potential to fill out. Very interesting player.

Edit : mino, no thanks
 
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justsomebloke

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He has very decent passing statistics, he has a very very accurate long pass, he very much likes to tackle and then distribute the ball short, he also holds his position very well on the pitch (heat maps suggest he favours the right side more). All attributes you need for a holding metronomic style player.

The stats do back me up in this, He leads most passing stats in the West Ham side (showing his influence), He is level with or beats most similar players in similar setups.

He also carries the ball extremely well, which is another plus.

No assumptions from me, just based on what i see, read and hear.

You may beg to differ, which is fine.
Okay, just what passing statistics do you have in mind? Because the ones I'm looking at aren't all that good. For instance, his completion rate for long passes is less than Fred's or McTominay's (though very marginally, in the latter case). It's a good observation (in your previous post) that he's got a higher proportion of live passes than the comparables, but that's not enough to make his numbers good. His progressive passing stats are fairly feeble. He doesn't make particularly many or accurate passes, and doesn't have a lot of ball contact, for a top player in his position. But maybe I am looking at the wrong stats.

The purely internal West Ham comparison is interesting, not immediately sure what to make of that. What "similar players in similar setups" are you thinking of?

Good ball carrier as previously noted, and I don't think anyone's questioning the defensive side of things.
 
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Walters_19_MuFc

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How does this guy compare to all the players being mentioned because I haven't seen a player dominate a game like he did in a while?

 

MadMike

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Theres scope that DVDB, DM, Pogba, Bruno, someone on the right and Cavani could work.
Workable but suboptimal as a long term solution, in my humble opinion.

Pogba is quite alright as a wide playmaker of sorts but he does not contribute enough goals from there. Even with a very poor last quarter, Rashford was still on 20+ goals for the season from the attacking positions. It'll be difficult for the other forwards to pick up the slack if Pogba played on the left somewhat permanently. Our shape becomes more a 4-4-2 and while there's nothing wrong with that, we aren't coached to play 4-4-2 at the moment.

There's also Fred and McTominay who you left out and, evidently, Ole trusts them way more than VDB. It's extremely unlikely they'll go from starters to bench players, with Pogba shunned to the left, just to make space for VDB of all people. Even if we do end up playing with Pogba on the left and with a new DM, then I expect McTominay and Fred to be ahead of VDB for that CM position. Hence a Pogba renewal would and probably should spell the end of his time at United.
 
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MadMike

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How does this guy compare to all the players being mentioned because I haven't seen a player dominate a game like he did in a while?

He's been mentioned quite a bit in the stat comparisons of previous pages. His stats generally back up what we see on the pitch. He's a very capable all-rounder.

He has less defensive contributions (tackles, interceptions, recoveries) than more defensive players like Rice, Bissouma, N'Didi or our own Fred. But he carries the ball more often and is also more impactful in the final 3rd of the pitch with a very high xG for a CM. He tends to play in a sort of double pivot with Bennacer for AC. Playing him as dedicated DM would not be best suited to his skills.

He's got the physical attributes (6 foot and built like a tank) that tell me he won't struggle to adapt to life in the EPL like Fred and Jorginho did at the start. He's only 24 and he seems to have strong mental attributes as well. He was good at Atalanta and he coped well with the increased expectations a move to AC Milan brings, becoming one of the best players of the latter. He has also become their penalty taker as well, which in a way also a testament to his mental strength and resilience. He's also good at shooting.

He's basically a McTominay-style, all-action CM but with better playmaking and pass-and-move skills.
 
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André Dominguez

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That Koopmeiners lad seems to have the energy and aggressiveness we need in the midfield.
 

justsomebloke

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How does this guy compare to all the players being mentioned because I haven't seen a player dominate a game like he did in a while?

He's in the stats a few pages back. Kind of in the middle of the pack across the board, as I recall.

I agree that was a really strong display though.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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He's been mentioned quite a bit in the stat comparisons of previous pages. His stats generally back up what we see on the pitch. He's a very capable all-rounder. He has less defensive contributions (tackles, interceptions, recoveries) than more defensive players like Rice, Bissouma, N'Didi or our own Fred. But he carries the ball more often and is also more impactful in the final 3rd of the pitch with a very high xG for a CM. He tends to play in a sort of double pivot with Bennacer for AC. He's basically a McTominay style player but with better playmaking and pass-and-move skills.
Cheers.

That was the impression I got when I watched him against us. Very good all-action midfielder, who, whilst he'd be a very good addition, probably isn't the profile of player we should be looking at.
 

justsomebloke

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He's been mentioned quite a bit in the stat comparisons of previous pages. His stats generally back up what we see on the pitch. He's a very capable all-rounder. He has less defensive contributions (tackles, interceptions, recoveries) than more defensive players like Rice, Bissouma, N'Didi or our own Fred. But he carries the ball more often and is also more impactful in the final 3rd of the pitch with a very high xG for a CM. He tends to play in a sort of double pivot with Bennacer for AC. He's basically a McTominay style player but with better playmaking and pass-and-move skills.
On the xG though, I should correct the stats I posted to non-penalty xG. On that basis, Kessie's xG is pretty much like Fred's.
 

MadMike

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Cheers.

That was the impression I got when I watched him against us. Very good all-action midfielder, who, whilst he'd be a very good addition, probably isn't the profile of player we should be looking at.
He probably should have been the profile of player we were looking at when we went and signed VDB, but that's for another thread.
 

MadMike

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On the xG though, I should correct the stats I posted to non-penalty xG. On that basis, Kessie's xG is pretty much like Fred's.
Well, I'll take the stats with a pinch because Kessie can shoot and I've seen him get in good positions to shoot plenty of times (he scored against us even if it got ruled out). Fred might have the xG because he works his way to the edge of the box, but he can't shoot.

In other words I'd be expecting more goals from Kessie than Fred, even if the stats say otherwise.
 

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How does this guy compare to all the players being mentioned because I haven't seen a player dominate a game like he did in a while?

Believe he’d love to play for United. A good player, with a very good work ethic, decent passer, press resistant and able to get up the pitch with the ball. 1 year left on deal so could be a steal if he’s not going to renew
 

justsomebloke

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Well, I'll take the stats with a pinch because Kessie can shoot and I've seen him get in good positions to shoot plenty of times (he scored against us even if it got ruled out). Fred might have the xG because he works his way to the edge of the box, but he can't shoot.

In other words I'd be expecting more goals from Kessie than Fred, even if the stats say otherwise.
Oh, absolutely. Fred is archetypically the sort of player you'd expect to underperform his xG. That said, Kessie doesn't seem to have put up more than 5 non-penalty goals in any of the past 6 seasons, so I'm not sure I'd expect a very large goal contribution from him either.
 

JustCoco

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I genuinely think N’Didi is the one.
leicester always seem to replace quality DM’s with more quality DM’s.

could be wise to see who they target for that position next and try to poach them from under their noses.
So far they have a 100% success rate in that position so their scouts are doing something right.
 

MadMike

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Oh, absolutely. Fred is archetypically the sort of player you'd expect to underperform his xG. That said, Kessie doesn't seem to have put up more than 5 non-penalty goals in any of the past 6 seasons, so I'm not sure I'd expect a very large goal contribution from him either.
Well he is a player occupying one of the 2 deepest midfield positions after all. 5 non-penantly goals in one season is actually a lot for someone playing that deep. For comparison Fred has not even scored 5 goals for us yet, he's stuck at 4. That's across all competitions after 3 full seasons with us. He's averaging 1.3 goals per season over the last 3 years, while Kessie is double that at 2.6 (excluding the pens).
 

justsomebloke

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Well he is a player occupying one of the 2 deepest midfield positions after all. 5 non-penantly goals in one season is actually a lot for someone playing that deep. For comparison Fred has not even scored 5 goals for us yet, he's stuck at 4. That's across all competitions after 3 full seasons with us. He's averaging 1.3 goals per season over the last 3 years, while Kessie is double that at 2.6 (excluding the pens).
Yep. Not doubting he'll outdo Fred. More or less same level as McTominay, maybe. But as you say, it's rare for players to score much from these positions anyway.
 

Champ

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Okay, just what passing statistics do you have in mind? Because the ones I'm looking at aren't all that good. For instance, his completion rate for long passes is less than Fred's or McTominay's (though very marginally, in the latter case). It's a good observation (in your previous post) that he's got a higher proportion of live passes than the comparables, but that's not enough to make his numbers good. His progressive passing stats are fairly feeble. He doesn't make particularly many or accurate passes, and doesn't have a lot of ball contact, for a top player in his position. But maybe I am looking at the wrong stats.

The purely internal West Ham comparison is interesting, not immediately sure what to make of that. What "similar players in similar setups" are you thinking of?

Good ball carrier as previously noted, and I don't think anyone's questioning the defensive side of things.
Rice's stats for passing on pretty much all counts, long, short, forward, through balls etc are a match for McT's per 90 minutes, or infact beat McT's as a percentage overall.

The facts are there online, so not sure why you keep trying to disprove me! Very odd.

For example, long pass accuracy for McT is 60.71% per 90, for Rice its 61.98%. His unsuccesful long rate passing is 1.5 per 90, Fred's and McT's are 1.9 respectively. Rices overall passing accuracy is 88% compared to around 87% for Fred and McT. Rice also has less unsuccesful passes than Fred and McT.
Honestly I could go on, but quite frankly its all there online.

Fred does indeed beat him in most other aspects, but again Fred isn't really a Matic replacement which is what we are discussing here, but for what it's worth, I really rate Fred.

With regards to similar players, its a difficult one but looking at players heat maps tends to give an idea of their actual tactical position and Doucoure at Everton is close to a holding player, Kalvin Phillips is too, although he does often stride forward more than Rice (again evident via heat map), Shelvey is also. Now I am in no way saying I want any one of them at United, (Although Phillips isn't bad), I just think that given their passing ability and the way they play lends themselves to a metronome type player.
 

Ali Dia

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How does this guy compare to all the players being mentioned because I haven't seen a player dominate a game like he did in a while?

He was great but he dominated a midfield with Matic so I’d be wary of putting too much stock into that performance. I believe we’ve lost 6 out of the 11 games he started this season. He gets dominated on the regular these days.
 

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To play top notch defense, you need top notch players. You cant push forward with confidence, if there is a hole in your core.

Mctominay Fred/Matic
Maguire Lindelof

Thats just not good enough.
Matic needs to be upgraded with a Declan Rice type of player.
Lindelof is steady but needs to be upgraded.
 

MadMike

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He was great but he dominated a midfield with Matic so I’d be wary of putting too much stock into that performance. I believe we’ve lost 6 out of the 11 games he started this season. He gets dominated on the regular these days.
On the flipside, (some) people want us to sign Neves when he couldn't dominate a midfield of Matic-VDB surrounded by a bunch of u23 players.

For what it's worth, I think judging any player off a single match is a bit pointless. He's not an obscure player, plenty of people have watched Kessie many times and can offer a balanced opinion. Stats wise Kessie has the best avg score of any CDM in Serie A on whoscored and is one of two best CMs along with Manuel Locatelli of Sassuolo. He seems to be in most publication's Serie A team of the season for 20-21.