The Search for a Midfielder

Yagami

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In their last 5 matches they've had the majority of the ball 3 times. Only 1 of those matches was a Partey and Rodri CM duo - a match they lose 2-0 to Athletic Bilbao.

The other 2 were Saul & Rodri vs. Rayo Vallecano and, Koke & Rodri Vs. Villarreal.

A month ago they did beat Juventus 2-0 at home in the champions league with Rodri & Partey starting at CM, but they had 36.9% of the ball. So once again theres nothing to suggest that Partey & Rodri control the midfield more than combinations including Koke or Saul.
Yeah, Rodri's definitely key to their midfield moreso than Partey. It's why I'm only claiming Rodri has the ability to control the game out of them two even though Partey's done well whenever I've seen him. Take Rodri out and they'll struggle as I don't think anyone else in the team is as good as him at this.

I think you can control the midfield despite having less of the posssession, too. One of the best CM performances I've seen against us in recent years was Cazorla's in a 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal. I think it was in van Gaal's second season. I recall us having over 60% possession at the Emirates but, regardless, he completely bossed Carrick and Schweinsteiger.

I am not as high on Eriksen to be honest, but he'd definitely be a good signing. Don't think there's any chance there though. I am also not sure whether Isco would work with Pogba. Fantastic player obviously, but I think he operates in similar spaces compared to Pogba. The last season he played regularly on the right was at Malaga, if I remember it correctly. If we could convince him of a role that is more to the right, then I'd be all for it. Joao Felix I need to see more of, but the glimpses I've seen, he looks brilliant. If we are talking purely tip of the diamond, then it's: 1. Dybala, 2. Fekir, 3. Havertz, 4. James, for me.
I agree with you on Eriksen. I've never been a big fan myself, but I wouldn't be against the signing as he'd bring some much needed creativity, and plays on the right area. Not that it's likely!

As for Isco, I think he'd work well with Pogba. His passing isn't great, but with his dribbling, close control and shielding of the ball he'd help greatly in the build up, and it'd allow Pogba to get further forwards without us being stumped on how to get it upfield without him. I believe he works hard defensively, too, though I don't watch much of Madrid so I'm basing that off my memories of him at Malaga and the odd game. In regards to his Malaga days, in his final season he played pretty much every game on the left. That was one of my favourite teams to watch in recent years!

Out of those 4 names you mentioned in your last sentence, Fekir would be my first choice without a doubt. We need someone who can keep the ball under pressure and play in tight spaces.
 

Devil may care

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This thread really needs to be a plural if Herrera goes IMO. There are quite a few options, not saying I personally rate them all, but there isn't a shortage.

DM - Rodri/Rice/Partey/Ndidi
CM - Neves/Aouar/Barella/Ndombele/Rabiot

You could include players like Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Brandt in the CM role I guess but I see them more at the tip of the diamond if they came to the PL.
 

ErranMorad

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This thread really needs to be a plural if Herrera goes IMO. There are quite a few options, not saying I personally rate them all, but there isn't a shortage.

DM - Rodri/Rice/Partey/Ndidi
CM - Neves/Aouar/Barella/Ndombele/Rabiot

You could include players like Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Brandt in the CM role I guess but I see them more at the tip of the diamond if they came to the PL.
How about 4231 with a solid DM and Pogba a little deeper? Then we can have either of Bruno, who is a goal scorer, or Felix, a more creative player, behind the striker.

For the bigger games we can go 433 with Matic, our solid DM and Pogba.
 

Devil may care

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How about 4231 with a solid DM and Pogba a little deeper? Then we can have either of Bruno, who is a goal scorer, or Felix, a more creative player, behind the striker.

For the bigger games we can go 433 with Matic, our solid DM and Pogba.
Personally I think Pogba is wasted deeper, his best work is in the final 3rd, plus he's often a liability when deeper as he is too careless, he gets away weith it for France due to International football breing generally slower. I personally wouldn't have Matic figured in for anything but the easy league games and cup stuff, he's not offering enough on or off the ball, if we have a solid DM and a player like Neves or Barella as the other #8 with Pogba we'd be in good shape and have little use for Matic.
 

Sea-Cow

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Do we have any chance of signing Marquinhos from PSG? He was a dramatic play-acting cheat against us, but he is also really good.

He could cover positions in midfield as well as right-back.

Not seen him mentioned here, and probably isn't realistic in the slightest, but he would be a dream signing.
 

NoPace

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What about Tielemans? I haven't seen a ton of him at Leicester but their fans are sure impressed. And Sanchez could be a logical loan to sweeten it if we paid most of his wages?
 

buckooo1978

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a player like Moutinho, with that kind of experience/ability would be really beneficial in actually controlling a game - not the marquee we all crave but we need some intelligence in there
 

wolvored

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Bruno Fernandes. Looks a better player than Neves. His long range scoring is superb
 

NYAS

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Bruno Fernandes. Looks a better player than Neves. His long range scoring is superb
Completely different players. Also it’s quite strange to be highlighting long-range shooting ability in a comparison against Ruben Neves of all players.
 

wolvored

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Completely different players. Also it’s quite strange to be highlighting long-range shooting ability in a comparison against Ruben Neves of all players.
Why? Neves scores long range as well. Was saying fernandes has this in his locker as well
 

NYAS

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Why? Neves scores long range as well. Was saying fernandes has this in his locker as well
Yes, I meant that Neves is a terrific shooter. It seemed like your post highlighted shooting ability as something Bruno has that Neves doesn’t have. Apologies if that wasn’t the intention.
 

Infra-red

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The search can probably end with Atletico and Lyon.

It feels like a combination of any two of Saul, Aouar, Koke, Rodri, Ndombele, Partey or Fekir could potentially be made to work for us.

No idea how 'available' any of them are likely to be, though.
 

wolvored

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Yes, I meant that Neves is a terrific shooter. It seemed like your post highlighted shooting ability as something Bruno has that Neves doesn’t have. Apologies if that wasn’t the intention.
Sorry I can see how you came to that. I was trying to imply Neves is a good player but wolves won't sell and we could do with a more attacking one and Fernandes has the shooting ability of neves as well
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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Only Matic replacements we've been linked with so far is Rice and Thomas Partey

Does anyone who happens to watch both of them know who would be the DM that we need that's assuming we get another creative midfielder
 

Wallez

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I would like us to bring in a regista rather than a destroyer as our new CDM, as one of our main struggles has been to link play between our defenders and attack. We need to put Pogba and our wingers in better positions where they receive the ball with their face towards goal, and Matic is not the player to do this. I also see Partey and Rice as poor players for this role, as they dont have the necessary abilities with the ball. We need more of a Carrick/Pirlo/Busquets type rather than a Makelele/Kante. I know that it is certainly not an easy task to get this kind of player, and Chelsea haven't succeeded by bringing in Jorginho for this role. Sandro Tonali at Brescia looks like he could become a perfect player, but it is of course far too early for him at the age of 18. Julian Weigl has also looked very interesting, but his progression seem to have stalled due to injuries. Frenkie de Jong will play this role for Barcelona, but it is too late to get him.

From what I can determine, this leaves us with 3 targets that could fill this role: Rabiot, Rodri and Ruben Neves. Rabiot has played brilliantly for PSG in this role and was supposed to take the role of Thiago Motta when he retired, but apparently he wanted to play higher up the field. If we can convince him to play this role for us and sign for a reasonable salary, he will be an absolute bargain for us. Rodri has been extremely good for Villareal and Atletico the past two seasons, and has a release clause of 60 mill pounds. He also has great physicality, which will help him shield our defense. Ruben Neves has been solid for Wolves and knows both the country and the league. He will probably still develop, but I am concerned about his price tag.

Conclusion: bring in Rodri or Rabiot to fill the Carrick role, put Matic on the bench.
 

In Rainbows

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I would like us to bring in a regista rather than a destroyer as our new CDM, as one of our main struggles has been to link play between our defenders and attack. We need to put Pogba and our wingers in better positions where they receive the ball with their face towards goal, and Matic is not the player to do this. I also see Partey and Rice as poor players for this role, as they dont have the necessary abilities with the ball. We need more of a Carrick/Pirlo/Busquets type rather than a Makelele/Kante. I know that it is certainly not an easy task to get this kind of player, and Chelsea haven't succeeded by bringing in Jorginho for this role. Sandro Tonali at Brescia looks like he could become a perfect player, but it is of course far too early for him at the age of 18. Julian Weigl has also looked very interesting, but his progression seem to have stalled due to injuries. Frenkie de Jong will play this role for Barcelona, but it is too late to get him.

From what I can determine, this leaves us with 3 targets that could fill this role: Rabiot, Rodri and Ruben Neves. Rabiot has played brilliantly for PSG in this role and was supposed to take the role of Thiago Motta when he retired, but apparently he wanted to play higher up the field. If we can convince him to play this role for us and sign for a reasonable salary, he will be an absolute bargain for us. Rodri has been extremely good for Villareal and Atletico the past two seasons, and has a release clause of 60 mill pounds. He also has great physicality, which will help him shield our defense. Ruben Neves has been solid for Wolves and knows both the country and the league. He will probably still develop, but I am concerned about his price tag.

Conclusion: bring in Rodri or Rabiot to fill the Carrick role, put Matic on the bench.
You can have both types of players. If you look at Pogba's deficiencies, it's clear that we need 2 midfielders who provide energy, defensive ability, and the ability to run the game with passing. You can achieve that multiple ways. You can have the Pirlo and the energetic Vidal. Pirlo being the guy who doesn't have much mobility, but is going to spray the ball around from the back and always hang out in the back. Vidal has the energy to run up and down, helping out in defense and attack. On the other hand, if you have your #6 more mobile like Busquets, you can have a little less energy in Xavi who is going to be a constant presence in passing and receiving the ball. If you have someone like Kante who will provide energy and defensive work, you just need the partner to be able to run the game with their passing like a Verratti (who also helps out in defense).

Even though these players are obviously not good enough right now, either because they're young or just not good enough, I can come up with the right mix of players with these youth players. I could pair up Garner + Gomes, and TFM + Gomes. Most likely will never happen because the success rate with youth players isn't high, but just looking at style these are the internal solutions (in an unrealistic ideal world).
 

DarkRed

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Constantly reading that Tottenham are after Jack Grealish, is he any good? should we maybe be interested too?
 

Lash

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Constantly reading that Tottenham are after Jack Grealish, is he any good? should we maybe be interested too?
He is, but if Villa come up through the play offs, he'll stay there.
 

Bwuk

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Constantly reading that Tottenham are after Jack Grealish, is he any good? should we maybe be interested too?
Yeah he is imo.

Depending on the fee I think he'd be a great addition to our midfield.
 

Fer

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I have seen Eriksen mentioned here. Is he realistic? IMO Levy is not going to sell him to a premier league team.
 

youmeletsfly

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I have seen Eriksen mentioned here. Is he realistic? IMO Levy is not going to sell him to a premier league team.
He has one more year left on his contract.
I think Levy will sell him to the highest bidder.

But us getting Eriksen and keeping Pogba won't look that great on the field. We'd need a very active destroyer behind them.
 

Devil may care

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We need 2, one to replace Herrera and one to upgrade Matic, but if Pogba also goes I think McTominay will be the default Herrera replacement as we'll need a #10 to replace Pogba and we can't not upgrade Matic as he's a liability as DM and part of the reason our defense struggles, he doesn't offer near enough protection.
 

andersj

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We need 2, one to replace Herrera and one to upgrade Matic, but if Pogba also goes I think McTominay will be the default Herrera replacement as we'll need a #10 to replace Pogba and we can't not upgrade Matic as he's a liability as DM and part of the reason our defense struggles, he doesn't offer near enough protection.
Lingard might be an option in midfield to, depending on who we bring in as replacement for Pogba. Been better there for England than as an attacker for us. Played next to Alli.

Losing both Herrera and Pogba in one summer in the situation we are in will be a huge blow for us. Basically mean that we dont have a midfield next summer. Zero stability in the spine of our team. That would be a mayor issue for any coach.
 

DarkRed

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Will Youri Tielemans + Nicolo Barella work with Pogba?
 
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ThierryHenry14

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James Rodriguez will be available for €30 to €45 million. Jupp Heynckes used him really well last season. He is a bargain given this price but he needs a great coach to bring the best out of him. He probably will team up with CR7 next season though.
 

beingshe7don

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We need atleast 2 midfielders and with losing Pogba, we need 3. The Portuguese trio could be considered. Neves/ Bruno/ Felix with Felix playing at the top of the triangle. I'm not convinced about Barella in the PL. I think he needs to be at Cagliari for one more season but then again he could very well end up at Juve (as most Italian talents do).
Teilemans is good but I would get him for depth in midfield.

But my first midfield preference would be Ndombele, Bruno & Felix where Ndombele and Bruno would function as a double pivot box-to-box midfielders with energy and Felix running riot in the final third. Felix also puts in a defense shift from time to time.
 

Scholsey2004

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James Rodriguez will be available for €30 to €45 million. Jupp Heynckes used him really well last season. He is a bargain given this price but he needs a great coach to bring the best out of him. He probably will team up with CR7 next season though.
£45m maybe. He won't go for £30m though, that's not realistic. Real won't sell that low. If pogba left he could be a serious option for us though if we bought a couple of midfielders with good defensive output to counterbalance him.
 

Nines

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What about Teji Savanier? I wonder if anyone has seen more of him and could provide an insight in to what sort of player he is as Whoscored have him down as the 3rd highest rated player (out of everyone) this season. He primarily operates in CM but has also been deployed as a CDM and has a whopping 6 goals and 12 assists in 29 appearances this season. He is Nimes main set piece taker which may inflate his stats to an extent and this is most definitely his breakout season at 27 however he may have the potential to be a cheap rotation/squad player with how weak our CM options are looking next season?
 

DarkRed

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We need two midfielders that will hit the ground running, we cann't afford the luxury like Liverpool and City to gradually introduce them to the league, players from the French, Portuguese, German leagues will end up like - Fred and Tiémoué Bakayoko.

Mind you it took Liverpool more then half a year to get good performances from Fabinho and NabyKeïta.