The central midfield area

TheReligion

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This is causing plenty of debate this season as to exactly what kind of player we need (a pure DM or a more deep lying playmaker) and who they should pair with or if they should pair at all. It leaves us with a few questions and I'd be interested to know what the consensus is;

1) What kind of CM do you want and why?

2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?

3) Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?

4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?

RE point 3 if the club don't invest in this area then it would seem likely that it's the route they will go. It seems obvious the balance isn't right with Mctominay/Fred in a double pivot and at times Pogba has had to play in that deep lying playmaker role, especially against teams we know will sit deep and frustrate us.
 

Revaulx

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This is causing plenty of debate this season as to exactly what kind of player we need (a pure DM or a more deep lying playmaker) and who they should pair with or if they should pair at all. It leaves us with a few questions and I'd be interested to know what the consensus is;

1) What kind of CM do you want and why?

2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?

3) Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?

4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?

RE point 3 if the club don't invest in this area then it would seem likely that it's the route they will go. It seems obvious the balance isn't right with Mctominay/Fred in a double pivot and at times Pogba has had to play in that deep lying playmaker role, especially against teams we know will sit deep and frustrate us.
Like it or not, I’m pretty sure the double pivot is here to stay. The simplest way to get more creativity in the middle third of the pitch might be just to leave the McFred concept as is and get a right-sided Shaw. This might be why we’re apparently interested in Tripper.

That’s not to say McTominay and Fred can’t be improved on, obviously. It might be easier to replace one of them with another box to box workhorse than start looking for DM or DLP specialists that would need formation changes to get the best out of them.

As to 4), I wouldn’t go as far as “hindering”, but yes he’s clearly not ideal in a midfield two.
 

Will Singh

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I think the double pivot works but we need to upgrade McFred, a true DM and a deep playmaker would be the dream. I think the youth should always be given a chance as that’s our DNA. All the talk about 433 I think is to get Pogba into the team which will hinder Bruno who practically played as a 2nd striker last season. Pogba for us is a massive problem and I just can’t see the point of keeping him but that’s another thread!
 
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[1) What kind of CM do you want and why?]
Strictly Camavinga. He is the future big wig in midfield football. The perfect way to replace Matic and Pogba long term as Garner develops and we plot to sign Bellingham.....

[2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?]
Not necessarily. To me it was never the problem. Having to field two defensive oriented players in it to protect a problem starting center half pair and no right winger were.

[)3 Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?]
In an ideal world:Yes. As it stands though they are better off with a season loan with guaranteed playing time.

I'd only keep Mejbri if Lingard is off. For I believe he'd be superior cover to Bruno than Mata

[4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?]
Not in my opinion.
 

Mr Smith

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1. It really depends on whether Pogba stays or goes. If he stays, we need a pure destroyer. Someone in the Casemiro or Ndidi mould, with high energy, positional discipline, and composure under pressure in our own half. If Pogba goes, we need to replace his passing quality, so looking for more of a playmaker in the Dr Jong mould (obviously we're not getting players of this quality, but it's the type of player).

I don't think the double pivot itself is strictly the problem, though I do believe a more balanced 3 is a more effective system; it's harder to defend against certainly. The wider problem is playing two limited players who aren't capable of line breaking passes or especially great with positional discipline in that pivot. One of them as a shuttler would be fine, but both is too limited.

3. If we dont sign a midfielder I'd like to see Garner in particular to be used, but we can't pin our hopes on him. Hannibal I hope is our long-term Pogba replacement; I'd rather look after him and keep him mostly in the reserves, though I don't think a debut is out of the question.

4. Ultimately, yes. The frustrating thing is that in theory, Pogba has all the attributes to be a perfect #8 with a fairly rudimentary shuttler next to him, but he just never learned positional discipline. France has proved you can play him in midfield with a world-class destroyer beside him, but even they play a hybrid CM on the left wing to cover for him, so I do fear that a 4-3-3 with Pogba and Bruno together is a fantasy unless by some miracle we could sign Casemiro, at least in big games.

Ultimately, this is one of the few situations I won't cry incompetence if the club doesn't bring in the player we need this summer, as I truly believe that player isn't available in the market, especially in a COVID world. If Pogba stays, I do think we may have to put up with McFred for another season and Pogba on the left wing, because I really don't see the alternative.
 

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A prime Michael Carrick would be useful, is there any Carrick-esqe players out there?
 

meamth

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A prime Michael Carrick would be useful, is there any Carrick-esqe players out there?
That breed of footballer is not the trend anymore.

Now all top midfielders are high work-rate, all action, strong and can run for 90 minutes.

There are some however still left in the game, Verratti, Jorginho..I'm struggling to put out names here.
 

sullydnl

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I can't see how the Pogba issue wouldn't be hindering how we approach this. If he stays then (assuming we intend for him to be a starting midfielder) the profile of who we need to sign in midfield is a lot more narrow than if he goes and we don't have to attempt to include him in the midfield jigsaw.
 

wolvored

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We're not winning any big trophy with McFred in the side. Pogba is an enigma as well. He should compliment the side not the other way around. Hopefully he is sold and we bring in someone like Rice to play the anchor/DM role. Niguez is being mentioned again in the media. Another who could play the role.
 

Trigg

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That breed of footballer is not the trend anymore.

Now all top midfielders are high work-rate, all action, strong and can run for 90 minutes.

There are some however still left in the game, Verratti, Jorginho..I'm struggling to put out names here.
Certainly is a dying breed.
 

Trigg

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We're not winning any big trophy with McFred in the side. Pogba is an enigma as well. He should compliment the side not the other way around. Hopefully he is sold and we bring in someone like Rice to play the anchor/DM role. Niguez is being mentioned again in the media. Another who could play the role.
McFred isn’t always the issue to me.

There’s plenty of games a season where their work rate and industry is pivotal. It’s games where we have a lot of possession and need to break a team down where their lack of guile stands out and is potentially an issue. Sancho will help with this, Pogba centrally would help with this but we still need an anchor like you say.

Not sure Rice or Saul is the answer. There seems to be a real lack of midfielders out there actually.
 

NRg

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In my opinion, positions and even classic 'on pitch' roles in football shifted so much in the last 15 years. This 'evolution' of the game is still confusing many fans, and I notice this regularly when discussing the game with my friends or reading the forum. Based on the latest rumors that Ole is looking to change things in the way we play, I am thinking that we'll be looking to add a midfielder that's more of a DLP with decent defensive awareness than the other way around, a classic DM that's mainly looking to win the ball back and release it with a short pass. I agree this is definitely the way to go, if we are looking to play more attractive football these days. Our main limitation with McFred is that teams know the ball will not be played fast between the lines and they have more than enough time to setup defensively. A good DLP that can pick a quick pass between the lines and insert some urgency in the way we play will do wonders to our team, simply because our forwards will receive the ball facing the opponents which are not perfectly set in their defensive shape.
 

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1) What kind of CM do you want and why?
All rounded midfielder but defensive minded. Someone who is comfortable as the last man in front of back 4. It doesn't mean it needs to be some kind of specialist.
2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?
We are very unlikely to move away from 2 man midfield due to a number of reasons. We could play 4-3-3 even with current personnel, Ole never uses this formation with 3 midfielders though. This is a tactical decision and it also defines what the double pivot is there to do (we basically don't use midfield for play making whoever plays there, the ball always goes through the wings or directly from defenders to forward line).
3) Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?
No. In the future, yes, but for now they should be playing often wherever it's possible. Midfielder role at United is very difficult to play right now.
4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?
He was for majority of the season, when we tried to pretend Pogba is a midfielder and can work in double pivot. He can't, and Ole finally understood this when he moved Pogba to the left midfielder/winger hybrid. But in general it seems like we're trying to squeeze him in somewhere. I very much doubt this will be a problem next season though.
 

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1) Verrati/Modrid/Pedri type so we play forward passes and most importantly with pace
2) yes scrap it, teams should adapt to utd not the other way around
3) they will most likely not make it like the vast majority of youth players so buying is an option. In best case ease Hannibal in to see if he got it or not.
4) Pogba is no issue, it would be an issue of he leaves.
 

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1. Ideally, a defensively solid playmaker. A Jorginho, Verrati, Carrick, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Thiago (even though he did struggle last season) style of player. I don't think any of Pogba, McTominay or Matic are able to form part of a two man midfield that is capable of competing for the top, no matter who their partner is. Whereas I do think Fred can be part of that midfield as long as he has the right partner to bring the correct balance, so ideally we bring in that player. And then in a season or two we can sign another player to take Fred's spot if that is still seen as a weakness.

If not that type of playmaker, then another all-round box-to-box that provides significantly more when we have the ball than McTominay does.

2. There's nothing wrong with a double pivot. It's just that our version doesn't have the correct balance as we don't have the right midfielders in the squad.

3. Garner in theory is the right 'type' of midfielder that I mentioned above, but he almost certainly is not ready. He needs at least one more year out on loan, probably two. Hannibal is a difficult one as he's probably outgrown the youth teams but won't get much of a chance in the first team yet. I expect he'll stick around to start with and hopefully get some chances in the early cup games, then likely go out on loan in January.

4. Yes, in multiple ways. Pogba is an issue as he doesn't suit playing one of the deeper midfield roles. The idea some have is to try to work around this by partnering him with a pure out-and-out defensive destroyer. I personally don't think this will work, and that type of player definitely doesn't suit playing next to any of our other midfielders either. Even if it does work, Pogba is likely leaving in 12 months (which is the other issue) and then we're stuck with a limited destroyer who doesn't provide much on the ball and we've got to try to buy a new player who can handle all the playmaking duties by themselves again. I want a better balance of duties between the two players instead of the extremes of one pure defensive and one pure creative and offense. Unless we know for certain that Pogba is going to sign a new contract, I don't want us to even attempt to go down that route as I'd hate to be in that position in 12 months time.
 

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This is causing plenty of debate this season as to exactly what kind of player we need (a pure DM or a more deep lying playmaker) and who they should pair with or if they should pair at all. It leaves us with a few questions and I'd be interested to know what the consensus is;

1) What kind of CM do you want and why?

2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?

3) Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?

4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?

RE point 3 if the club don't invest in this area then it would seem likely that it's the route they will go. It seems obvious the balance isn't right with Mctominay/Fred in a double pivot and at times Pogba has had to play in that deep lying playmaker role, especially against teams we know will sit deep and frustrate us.
1.) A top DM that is comfortable on the ball and press resistant. Similar to a younger Matic where he can break the lines passing occasionally but is solid positionally and able to clean up while the team pushes higher up the field.

2.) The double pivot is overrated as an "issue" just like formations can become overrated. The biggest issue with our double pivot was the fact that the midfield as a whole would tend to disconnect, with Bruno pushing way too high and essentially playing as a second striker while the other two CM's were too deep, and couple that with McFred being a bad pairing in terms of progression and handling the ball under pressure and it caused big problems.

3.) No, because relying on two players who haven't had any sort of high level experience for probably the biggest issue in the team construction isn't a smart idea. This isn't like throwing Greenwood on the wing as a young kid, Garner and Hannibal would be forced to play at the highest level in one of the toughest positions to acclimate to in a big side.

4.) No, Pogba is one of the best passers in the world and has a unique profile that can provide a threat that many teams can't match up with well. Added into that he's improved from bad defensively to passable in tackling and reading the game. Essentially throw a Kante next to him in our team and you'd see many performances similar to his France matches.
 

TheReligion

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1.) A top DM that is comfortable on the ball and press resistant. Similar to a younger Matic where he can break the lines passing occasionally but is solid positionally and able to clean up while the team pushes higher up the field.

2.) The double pivot is overrated as an "issue" just like formations can become overrated. The biggest issue with our double pivot was the fact that the midfield as a whole would tend to disconnect, with Bruno pushing way too high and essentially playing as a second striker while the other two CM's were too deep, and couple that with McFred being a bad pairing in terms of progression and handling the ball under pressure and it caused big problems.

3.) No, because relying on two players who haven't had any sort of high level experience for probably the biggest issue in the team construction isn't a smart idea. This isn't like throwing Greenwood on the wing as a young kid, Garner and Hannibal would be forced to play at the highest level in one of the toughest positions to acclimate to in a big side.

4.) No, Pogba is one of the best passers in the world and has a unique profile that can provide a threat that many teams can't match up with well. Added into that he's improved from bad defensively to passable in tackling and reading the game. Essentially throw a Kante next to him in our team and you'd see many performances similar to his France matches.
RE;

2) Interesting point and one I agree with. Often too much of a gap in central areas between midfield and attack which allows players to run at our double pivet and run in behind. Could that not be rectified by getting the team to play higher up the pitch collectively though and the introduction of a CB with more pace to sweep up behind i.e Varane?

4) Think you misunderstood this one. I mean more the uncertainty about him staying/going having an impact on how we plan moving forward.
 

hobbers

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We need Camavinga or someone with similar talents, and we need a replacement for Pogba. Matic is obviously not in the equation any more. Garner and Hannibal won't be trusted there or given any chances and will be sent off on loan, so pointless even speculating about how they would do.

The double pivot is suitable for the bigger games provided we upgrade away from the lack of composure, passing and ball carrying ability of McFred. Pogba cannot play in a double pivot.

If Pogba stays this season I would only play him on the left or right wing. Left especially during Rashford's recovery. Or obviously in Bruno's position if he got injured or needed a break.
 

Valencia Shin Crosses

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RE;

2) Interesting point and one I agree with. Often too much of a gap in central areas between midfield and attack which allows players to run at our double pivet and run in behind. Could that not be rectified by getting the team to play higher up the pitch collectively though and the introduction of a CB with more pace to sweep up behind i.e Varane?

4) Think you misunderstood this one. I mean more the uncertainty about him staying/going having an impact on how we plan moving forward.
Yeah I believe that’s a huge part of it as with Varane the team will feel free to play higher in general, just as we did when Bailly would start (for even with all of his flaws he is clearly our quickest at the back).

As for the last point, I did misunderstand. In that case only the club can know how much Pogba wants to go or is willing to stay, so I guess we’ll just have to trust the to read the situation correctly and to plan accordingly from that.
 

11101

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In a midfield you need somebody who can create, somebody who can disrupt and stop the opposition, and somebody who can get the ball from the disrupter to the creator.

We have world class creators in Bruno and Pogba. We have a good disrupter in Fred. What we need is that player who can pick the ball up when Fred has forced an error, and quickly get it into the feet of Pogba or Bruno. What we need is a young Matic or Carrick who are able to position themselves to receive the ball deep and quickly move it forward.
 

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1. Ideally, a defensively solid playmaker. A Jorginho, Verrati, Carrick, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Thiago (even though he did struggle last season) style of player. I don't think any of Pogba, McTominay or Matic are able to form part of a two man midfield that is capable of competing for the top, no matter who their partner is. Whereas I do think Fred can be part of that midfield as long as he has the right partner to bring the correct balance, so ideally we bring in that player. And then in a season or two we can sign another player to take Fred's spot if that is still seen as a weakness.

If not that type of playmaker, then another all-round box-to-box that provides significantly more when we have the ball than McTominay does.

2. There's nothing wrong with a double pivot. It's just that our version doesn't have the correct balance as we don't have the right midfielders in the squad.

3. Garner in theory is the right 'type' of midfielder that I mentioned above, but he almost certainly is not ready. He needs at least one more year out on loan, probably two. Hannibal is a difficult one as he's probably outgrown the youth teams but won't get much of a chance in the first team yet. I expect he'll stick around to start with and hopefully get some chances in the early cup games, then likely go out on loan in January.

4. Yes, in multiple ways. Pogba is an issue as he doesn't suit playing one of the deeper midfield roles. The idea some have is to try to work around this by partnering him with a pure out-and-out defensive destroyer. I personally don't think this will work, and that type of player definitely doesn't suit playing next to any of our other midfielders either. Even if it does work, Pogba is likely leaving in 12 months (which is the other issue) and then we're stuck with a limited destroyer who doesn't provide much on the ball and we've got to try to buy a new player who can handle all the playmaking duties by themselves again. I want a better balance of duties between the two players instead of the extremes of one pure defensive and one pure creative and offense. Unless we know for certain that Pogba is going to sign a new contract, I don't want us to even attempt to go down that route as I'd hate to be in that position in 12 months time.
apparently pogba is not signing a new contract
 

Red_Orchestra

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Ideally Palhinha from Sporting would be the perfect signing for us. Deep lying playmaking Anchor, ticks all boxes. Can play solo DM, boss the midfield and distribute great balls from any range.

But in real life, we'll probably end up with Declan Rice.
 

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I still think we need a bit of a play busting CDM, that can distribute the ball. The Camavinga links are interesting but everything I've read suggests he isn't the player we really need (which, ideally, would be Ndidi, I think).

I really like the TIFO website transfers because they think a bit outside the box and this is an interesting video:

 

Hughie77

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CMs will have to be sold first. How many we got, mostly Attacking ones. VDB , Mata, Jesse , Bruno (who could do both imo). Pogba , in the main we got Mctom Fred as 2 DMs. If Jesse goes or Pogba another DM should come in with quality. Hope we tie Pogba down.
 

He'sRaldo

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CMs will have to be sold first. How many we got, mostly Attacking ones. VDB , Mata, Jesse , Bruno (who could do both imo). Pogba , in the main we got Mctom Fred as 2 DMs. If Jesse goes or Pogba another DM should come in with quality. Hope we tie Pogba down.
hmm not sure Ole is into that sort of thing...
 

Skills

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CMs will have to be sold first. How many we got, mostly Attacking ones. VDB , Mata, Jesse , Bruno (who could do both imo). Pogba , in the main we got Mctom Fred as 2 DMs. If Jesse goes or Pogba another DM should come in with quality. Hope we tie Pogba down.
McTominay isn't a DM. It's just that he doesn't offer a lot passing or creativity wise so people like to excuse that by calling him a DM. But even partnered with Pogba, McTominay will often play further ahead of him. So he's either an extremely ill disciplined DM or just not a DM at all.

Fred and Matic are our only DMs.
 

bonothom

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The Pogba situation needs to be sorted before the season starts. If he's still here and into his final year it will be disastrous for United. It will be a massive distraction. If they can get £45 million then sell and get in a replacement.
 

Hughie77

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McTominay isn't a DM. It's just that he doesn't offer a lot passing or creativity wise so people like to excuse that by calling him a DM. But even partnered with Pogba, McTominay will often play further ahead of him. So he's either an extremely ill disciplined DM or just not a DM at all.

Fred and Matic are our only DMs.
MC TOM is played as a DM the only time hes on the front foot is against lesser opponents, Fred is the same. Otherwise those 2 are our DM both of them . And how many times did he actually play with Pogba in CM?.. not many
 

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Our weakest area. We have no one that runs out game for us, much like the England team.
 

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1) What kind of CM do you want and why?
Kimmich, a postionally astute midfielder to screen the back 4 but also capable of playmaking from deep, one of the reasons I'm not keen on Rice and Ndidi. We need a #8 as well, Camavinga/Goretzka/Bellingham/Auoar/De Jong are all great options.

2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?
No, Bruno is best as a #10 in 4-2-3-1, we just need to improve the double pivot.

3) Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?
No, Garner needs a PL loan and I think Hannibal will start off playing as Bruno's deputy and off the LW.

4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?
Yes, he's best in a midfield 3 where he can be the midfielder with licence to attack, this doesn't fit with Bruno.
 

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Sabitzer is available for around £17m this summer, right? I’ve always liked him when I’ve seen him, although I haven’t watched him extensively. Any regular viewers think he could make the grade at United?
 

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1) What kind of CM do you want and why?
Most important is having high technical ability in their passing and vision to be able to receive the ball and push it on quickly and efficiently. On top of this they need to be able to be cool under pressure and have the confidence to play out of danger. Defensively secure. Goals and key passes/assists is a bonus but not a requirement. Personally, I feel like we also need another midfielder on top of Fred/McTominay, but they'll do a job for a season, I actually think Fred would look much better in a midfield three and not being the main defensive shield, he's got a lot of good qualities. McTominay i'm less sure, but he's a useful squad player, just not an automatic starter.

2) Should the double pivot be scrapped?

With the current players we have? No. But this is why we're looking to purchase to be able to scrap it.

3) Should Garner and Hannibal be given the opportunity as opposed to buying in that area?

No, we can give them some opportunities but if we're serious about going for trophies then we can't afford to carry youngsters in midfield. Hannibal should go out on loan while Garner has the ability to push McTominay for starts/sub appearances. But it would probably aid his development long term to go another loan.

4) Is the Pogba issue hindering how we approach this?

Yes, defensively he's just not good enough to be in a midfield three but he's also not got enough consistency with his end product to be the focal attacking point. He's not developed into the world class player we all thought he'd be, too many faults in his game. On top of this he's got a twat of an agent.