Which do we need more? DM or Back up creative midfielder

croadyman

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Simply put, we need both.

Forget other areas of concern (RW and CF), this is a thread based on whether we need more midfielders. And the answer is yes.

Lingard is useless
Periera is useless
Gomes has contract issue
Garner needs a loan for development
McTom is squad worthy
Fred is squad worthy
Matic is squad worthy (will be used for this season, but not further)
Fernandes is squad worthy
Pogba is squad worthy (but have long term concerns regarding contract/commitment)

What we have lacked for years across the squad is competition for places and some real quality throughout. We have seen how injuries effect us and we resort to playing Periera as a CDM, which turned out to be pretty disastrous. Im not playing Periera as such, but he's not good enough to be playing there, we were forced into it by having no depth throughout the squad.

We are likely to play 3 midfielders.

Whether we play a double or a single pivot, we have depth issue's.

If we have 2 injuries we are over relying on Matic for CDM and if one of Pogba or Fernandes gets injured/suspended we are pretty light for the more advanced midfield role.

We never seem to "phase" players out when they are in decline, we just dont sign anyone till they're gone and then struggle. This is why we need a DM now, to phase Matic out and provide quality competition against Fred/McTom.

Players will improve with better players around them.

Fernandes for example, is NEVER going to think Lingard or Periera and genuinely take his place, whereas if we signed a Grealish or a Van Der Beek he'd think twice and stay on form. Football is more than application, it's about mentality and desire as well. Thats what we lack.

We need both.
Superb post, I think it is safe to say we are only going to bring in one of Grealish or Van Der Beek but not sure which one

Looks very much like Bellingham will go to Dortmund but still really need to bring in a DM who is good on the ball too.

We cannot rely on just Matic in that area next season and don't feel that Fred & McTominay are that sort of player.
 
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Devil may care

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Partey and Atleti are reported to be in contract talks and possibly something could happen once the season is over.

Personally I was hoping for Tonali, Camavinga, Zakaria etc but I can't see the first two happening as of now.
Yeah it's looking like Inter and Real Madrid for the first 2 but it looked like Liverpool and Werner as on and then Chelsea popped up and swiped him, maybe we can do the same with 1 of them. I like how United seem to be moving right now but my one concern is the continued Grealish links with very little noise surrounding a holding CM, unless we know Pogba is going and Ole is planning a different set up in midfield.
 

Kingslayer18

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Based on how the team has fared this season and the make-up of our squad, it shouldn't be one or either, it should be both.

We need a fast, dynamic DM who's good at covering the spaces that Pogba and Bruno will leave behind but also good in possession. He should be able to move the ball quickly, getting it up the field and also good at evading the press. He could also come in between the CBs, allowing them to split. There isn't a bountiful supply of those kind of midfielders or if they are, would be hard to get out of their current clubs. The ideal ones who fit this bill that we could acquire would include, Zakaria ,Camavinga and Partey. Partey isn't as fast as the other two so i'd have him as 3rd choice out of that trio.

Another CAM is required as we've also seen how this team performs when one of Mata, Lingard or Perreira comes into the starting line-up. If one of Bruno or Pogba is injured, we're back to square one. This CAM will come in as a high quality squad player that can probably fulfill more than one position. One of Havertz, Grealish, VDB, or Zaniolo would be ideal in that they can play 10,8 or LW/RW. Havertz would be the ideal candidate as he can play all those roles plus striker. If Pogba goes a year from now, this player goes straight into the 11 and then Gomes or Mejbri can come onto the bench to take that player's spot.
 

Icemav

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Spot on mate but Ole will keep faith in Matic for another season by the looks of it
He has to and he should. But really we have needed a Matic rotation option since the moment he was signed. I like Mctominay and Fred but they aren't cut from the same cloth.
 

Man Yusuf united

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Based on how the team has fared this season and the make-up of our squad, it shouldn't be one or either, it should be both.

We need a fast, dynamic DM who's good at covering the spaces that Pogba and Bruno will leave behind but also good in possession. He should be able to move the ball quickly, getting it up the field and also good at evading the press. He could also come in between the CBs, allowing them to split. There isn't a bountiful supply of those kind of midfielders or if they are, would be hard to get out of their current clubs. The ideal ones who fit this bill that we could acquire would include, Zakaria ,Camavinga and Partey. Partey isn't as fast as the other two so i'd have him as 3rd choice out of that trio.

Another CAM is required as we've also seen how this team performs when one of Mata, Lingard or Perreira comes into the starting line-up. If one of Bruno or Pogba is injured, we're back to square one. This CAM will come in as a high quality squad player that can probably fulfill more than one position. One of Havertz, Grealish, VDB, or Zaniolo would be ideal in that they can play 10,8 or LW/RW. Havertz would be the ideal candidate as he can play all those roles plus striker. If Pogba goes a year from now, this player goes straight into the 11 and then Gomes or Mejbri can come onto the bench to take that player's spot.
What about Ndindi?
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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Based on how the team has fared this season and the make-up of our squad, it shouldn't be one or either, it should be both.

We need a fast, dynamic DM who's good at covering the spaces that Pogba and Bruno will leave behind but also good in possession. He should be able to move the ball quickly, getting it up the field and also good at evading the press. He could also come in between the CBs, allowing them to split. There isn't a bountiful supply of those kind of midfielders or if they are, would be hard to get out of their current clubs. The ideal ones who fit this bill that we could acquire would include, Zakaria ,Camavinga and Partey. Partey isn't as fast as the other two so i'd have him as 3rd choice out of that trio.

Another CAM is required as we've also seen how this team performs when one of Mata, Lingard or Perreira comes into the starting line-up. If one of Bruno or Pogba is injured, we're back to square one. This CAM will come in as a high quality squad player that can probably fulfill more than one position. One of Havertz, Grealish, VDB, or Zaniolo would be ideal in that they can play 10,8 or LW/RW. Havertz would be the ideal candidate as he can play all those roles plus striker. If Pogba goes a year from now, this player goes straight into the 11 and then Gomes or Mejbri can come onto the bench to take that player's spot.
Your CDM description is exactly what we need. But for the AM I don't think we need to splash cash on one that would likely be a back up to Bruno. We could find a solid AM that would be cheap. Maybe Szoboszlai or Brooks if Bournemouth relegates.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Your CDM description is exactly what we need. But for the AM I don't think we need to splash cash on one that would likely be a back up to Bruno. We could find a solid AM that would be cheap. Maybe Szoboszlai or Brooks if Bournemouth relegates.
I wouldn’t be at all against Brooks. I think he’d be a perfect squad option can play RW or CAM. Also a left footer which we lack.
 

Kingslayer18

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What about Ndindi?
Ndidi doesn't have the passing range for the ideal type of CDM we'd need. I also don't see him dropping inbetween the centrebacks at Leicester, thus giving the team more passing options to spread play. However he does have some attributes that would be be very helpful to us. He wouldn't be in my top 3 choices for that role based on that.
 

Kingslayer18

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Your CDM description is exactly what we need. But for the AM I don't think we need to splash cash on one that would likely be a back up to Bruno. We could find a solid AM that would be cheap. Maybe Szoboszlai or Brooks if Bournemouth relegates.
The AM would also act as insurance in case Pogba doesn't agree a contract extension, so i think it needs to be someone that could come into the 11 if he does leave. I don't see Brooks as anything other than a decent squad player, he's not going to help us contest for the league if Pogba goes. If cost of Havertz would be an issue, Grealish would be the next best bet as he'll likely be cheaper if Villa get relegated. Though I would be concerned with a Grealish/Bruno/CDM midfield, as it could lack physicality.
 

jackal&hyde

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Right now we have Matic and McTom to do a job at DM and Pogba and Brono for creativity. Fred is looking better but he is not very creative. I'd go for an AM myself and next year when Matic goes we get a DM. The defensive record is ok, the attack and chance creating has been the issue.
 

Suvvernmanc

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Right now we have Matic and McTom to do a job at DM and Pogba and Brono for creativity. Fred is looking better but he is not very creative. I'd go for an AM myself and next year when Matic goes we get a DM. The defensive record is ok, the attack and chance creating has been the issue.
This is my wish too. Fred's qualities are tackling, breaking up play and passing. His shooting and heading has been poor. I would say he's best as DM (in a 2 man midfield) and maybe a defensive 8 (in a 3)

Having Matic who has been good recently, for 1 more season means we will need to replace him next season. For now, it has to be Bruno cover/rotation AM.
 

arnie_ni

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In a game where we drew because of lack of creativity the solution is cdm? Unless you mean a carrick/busquets type it's a no.
It allows you to start bruno and pogba together against better teams.

Right now i dont see how ole can start the 2 of them against any of the traditional top 6
 

arnie_ni

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Its a well known phrase in football and it means performing a specific role as a CM.

You seem to be confusing running or controlling a game with contributing to a result by creating chances.

Pogba does not control the tempo or flow of a game from the middle of the field like Keane or Pirlo would have done, for example. He's more of an attack minded player who'll drift left or right as the mood takes him. He was on the wing for the penalty.
Carrick, kroos, busquets, scholes theres loads of players that run games.

Pogba changes games.

I agree with you.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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It allows you to start bruno and pogba together against better teams.

Right now i dont see how ole can start the 2 of them against any of the traditional top 6
Exactly. We always play defensive and counter against top teams because it's the best way we can get a result. If we want to dominate a top team but also be solid defensively we need a really solid DM with Bruno and Pogba. Not sure Matic is that DM. He's good enough for teams that sit back since they don't pressure us but I don't think he has the energy and pace to cover for Bruno and Pogba when we are pressured. Mctominay has it but his positional awareness is very poor. We need a DM
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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The AM would also act as insurance in case Pogba doesn't agree a contract extension, so i think it needs to be someone that could come into the 11 if he does leave. I don't see Brooks as anything other than a decent squad player, he's not going to help us contest for the league if Pogba goes. If cost of Havertz would be an issue, Grealish would be the next best bet as he'll likely be cheaper if Villa get relegated. Though I would be concerned with a Grealish/Bruno/CDM midfield, as it could lack physicality.
So if we get Grealish as an insurance if Pogba goes then Pogba actually leaves and Grealish takes over who then plays back up to Bruno and Grealish? We go back to Lingard and Pereira
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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Right now we have Matic and McTom to do a job at DM and Pogba and Brono for creativity. Fred is looking better but he is not very creative. I'd go for an AM myself and next year when Matic goes we get a DM. The defensive record is ok, the attack and chance creating has been the issue.
Actually I think Fred is a decent back up for Pogba and Bruno. Here's a post I made in the Grealish thread.

I think right now we need an actual DM to takeover from Matic. Stop limiting Pogba in a double pivot and get a DM to complement and allow Bruno and Pogba to focus on attack in a 4-3-3 as the two 8s

But what happens when one of Bruno and Pogba gets injured? This is where Grealish or VdB would have come into play but if It was between getting one of them or a DM, I'd go for a DM because we already have Fred who can play the 8 role. Before Bruno and during Pogba's injury, Fred was our primary playmaker this season with most key passes, 2nd most passes, highest passes into final 3rd and highest passing accuracy. Stats aside he's regarded as an energetic ball winner but his skills on the ball are quite underrated.




First video highlights Fred creating for us and the second is him creating for Shaktar

RW and DM should be priority. We can still do alright without a Grealish or VdB because Fred can play that 8 role as backup to Bruno or Pogba in a 4-3-3. what is lacking is a natural DM to replace Matic

If the intention is actually spending 40m on VdB or Grealish to be squad players I think it makes no sense especially when an ageing Matic is our only DM
 

JohnnyLaw

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Definitely DM for me.
Fred and McTominay are fine as box to box next to one of Pogba or Bruno. Don’t think either of them have the prescense I’d like for them to be the starting no 6 for us in the near future.
Matic is the best at this role but we shouldn’t demand too much from him.

Pogba/Mctominay - Bruno/Fred
New DM/Matic

That being said though, I’d definitely take Grealish as long as it’s for a reasonable sum. Hopefully Villa go down and we can pull him out of there without too much fuss.
 

croadyman

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I do wonder if we had a pacy CB alongside Maguire then maybe we would only need one DM rather than the current two.
 

jackal&hyde

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Actually I think Fred is a decent back up for Pogba and Bruno. Here's a post I made in the Grealish thread.

I think right now we need an actual DM to takeover from Matic. Stop limiting Pogba in a double pivot and get a DM to complement and allow Bruno and Pogba to focus on attack in a 4-3-3 as the two 8s

But what happens when one of Bruno and Pogba gets injured? This is where Grealish or VdB would have come into play but if It was between getting one of them or a DM, I'd go for a DM because we already have Fred who can play the 8 role. Before Bruno and during Pogba's injury, Fred was our primary playmaker this season with most key passes, 2nd most passes, highest passes into final 3rd and highest passing accuracy. Stats aside he's regarded as an energetic ball winner but his skills on the ball are quite underrated.




First video highlights Fred creating for us and the second is him creating for Shaktar

RW and DM should be priority. We can still do alright without a Grealish or VdB because Fred can play that 8 role as backup to Bruno or Pogba in a 4-3-3. what is lacking is a natural DM to replace Matic

If the intention is actually spending 40m on VdB or Grealish to be squad players I think it makes no sense especially when an ageing Matic is our only DM
I'm a fan of Fred and watched him playing for Shaktar in CL. I guess after seeing how poor our non Bruno and Pogba options were this season at creating chances i am shell shocked and never want to see us depend on Lingard and Pereira again in a PL game. Even last year when Pogba was fit, all it took was for the opposition to do a good job in marking him and we were blunted. Having 3 good AMs when our fullbacks are not the attacking variant is a must imo.

I'd be much more confident in having McTom for example at DM and 2 good attacking players then a better DM and have to resort to Lingard/Pereira for creativity. I'm ok with conceding a goal now and then against lower teams but hitting the wall so much in terms of not creating chances...that i can't stand.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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I'm a fan of Fred and watched him playing for Shaktar in CL. I guess after seeing how poor our non Bruno and Pogba options were this season at creating chances i am shell shocked and never want to see us depend on Lingard and Pereira again in a PL game. Even last year when Pogba was fit, all it took was for the opposition to do a good job in marking him and we were blunted. Having 3 good AMs when our fullbacks are not the attacking variant is a must imo.

I'd be much more confident in having McTom for example at DM and 2 good attacking players then a better DM and have to resort to Lingard/Pereira for creativity. I'm ok with conceding a goal now and then against lower teams but hitting the wall so much in terms of not creating chances...that i can't stand.
I understand your point. I just think with Bruno Pogba and Fred(when playing as an 8 in a 4-3-3) we have enough players to create chances when compared to DMs we have, which is just an ageing Matic and Mctomimay who has not convinced people he can play there. To illustrate

Our starting midfield should be

Bruno......Pogba

Matic​

An injury to Pogba? Then we play

Bruno.....Fred

Matic​
(This has been our best midfield 3 this season too)

Injury to Bruno? Then we play

Pogba....Fred

Matic
Ideally we need both a back up AM and a DM but I think the more pressing issue right now is a DM. Another way to go around it is to get a player that can play both DM and can be pushed forward to create chances.
 
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arnie_ni

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I do wonder if we had a pacy CB alongside Maguire then maybe we would only need one DM rather than the current two.
We have no DMs at the minute apart from matic, thats the point.

Fred and McT arent defensive midfielders. They arent disciplined enough.
 

jackal&hyde

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I understand your point. I just think with Bruno Pogba and Fred(when playing as an 8 in a 4-3-3) we have enough players to create chances when compared to DMs we have, which is just an ageing Matic and Mctomimay who has done very little to convince people he can play there. To illustrate

Our starting midfield should be

Bruno......Pogba

Matic​

An injury to Pogba? Then we play

Bruno.....Fred

Matic​
(This has been our best midfield 3 this season too)

Injury to Bruno? Then we play

Pogba....Fred

Matic
I see your point too. I guess if we add Sancho that is a big improvement from James too. I just see the sense in buying and AM and sticking with Matic and McTom for another season. We will not be the finished product next season either way.
 

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If anyone wanted evidence in favour of Matic's importance to the side, you can find it here:

Matic has started 20 games in all competitions for United this season. In those 20 appearances, United have kept a clean sheet in 14 matches. In the Premier League alone, United's win percentage increases from 33.3% to 54.5% when Matic starts.

https://www.whoscored.com/Articles/...chester-United-resurgence-cant-be-understated
We really need a long-term replacement for him - he is the only player currently in the squad who can perform to a high level as a #6.
 

croadyman

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We have no DMs at the minute apart from matic, thats the point.

Fred and McT arent defensive midfielders. They arent disciplined enough.
That is why we should be in the market for a DM this summer,ideally someone who can rotate with Matic and ultimately take over from him.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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I see your point too. I guess if we add Sancho that is a big improvement from James too. I just see the sense in buying and AM and sticking with Matic and McTom for another season. We will not be the finished product next season either way.
Hope I'm not sounding offensive but can you explain the sense in sticking with Matic and Mctominay next season? Because in my head if we are playing Bruno and Pogba in midfield we need someone with energy to cover for them which Matic can't provide and someone with positional awareness which Mctominay doesn't have.
 

jackal&hyde

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Hope I'm not sounding offensive but can you explain the sense in sticking with Matic and Mctominay next season? Because in my head if we are playing Bruno and Pogba in midfield we need someone with energy to cover for them which Matic can't provide and someone with positional awareness which Mctominay doesn't have.
I think we will get a better answer to that in the rest of the season as i'm sure we will see plenty of Pogba and Bruno together with a 3ed. We extended Matic for another year so that makes me think we are not looking for a DM right now. It's just my opinion, but i suspect we are looking to see if McTom can make that position his own while having Matic to learn from. I know people see Scot as an 8, but i don't think he has the attacking ability we need for that position. We seem to be moving to a system where the main threat of creativity comes from the midle and it's why i think it makes sense to have 3 good players for those 2 positions (Pogba, Bruno, Grealish?) A bit similar to City with KDB, D. Silva, B Silva, Foden).
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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I think we will get a better answer to that in the rest of the season as i'm sure we will see plenty of Pogba and Bruno together with a 3ed. We extended Matic for another year so that makes me think we are not looking for a DM right now. It's just my opinion, but i suspect we are looking to see if McTom can make that position his own while having Matic to learn from. I know people see Scot as an 8, but i don't think he has the attacking ability we need for that position. We seem to be moving to a system where the main threat of creativity comes from the midle and it's why i think it makes sense to have 3 good players for those 2 positions (Pogba, Bruno, Grealish?) A bit similar to City with KDB, D. Silva, B Silva, Foden).
Completely agree with all of this. I'd bet for Mctominay to be a better 6 than an 8 too. The only thing he seems to lack for a 6 is the positional awareness
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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When Pogba was injured I was worried about our creativity. But as soon as Bruno came, along with playing a midfield of Bruno Fred and Matic we didn't have a problem with creating chances. Some even said Pogba should earn his place when he returns and not upset the balance (which was quite ridiculous).

You look at our current midfield of Bruno Pogba and Matic and Matic is very key in that. I know this midfield can cope with an injury to Bruno or an injury to Pogba but an injury to Matic? Who else is capable of playing well alongside Pogba and Bruno??
 

eire-red

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Having watched the game today, Matic gives us such composure and a presence in midfield, moreso than any other midfielder we have. He's the only midfielder who defends the space behind him.

Replacing him has to be a priority for us. A lot of options in the market, but I for one don't like two of the most popular on here that are mentioned; Ndidi and Partey. I don't think either of them are good enough on the ball.

We need someone in the mould of Xabi Alonso/Carrick who can defend but also be a key component of our transitions with passes between the lines to Bruno and Pogba.

Priorities for me over the next two windows:

RW - Sancho hopefully
CB - A complementary partner to Maguire. None spring to mind unfortunately, I do like the look of Mason Holgate every time I see him play for Everton.
CDM - Not sure, possibly Zakaria? Questions about his passing abilities again for me.
Backup CF - No idea, but a cheapish unknown similar to Hernandez transfer could work.
 

croadyman

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When Pogba was injured I was worried about our creativity. But as soon as Bruno came, along with playing a midfield of Bruno Fred and Matic we didn't have a problem with creating chances. Some even said Pogba should earn his place when he returns and not upset the balance (which was quite ridiculous).

You look at our current midfield of Bruno Pogba and Matic and Matic is very key in that. I know this midfield can cope with an injury to Bruno or an injury to Pogba but an injury to Matic? Who else is capable of playing well alongside Pogba and Bruno??
Yeah that is exactly why we either bring through a backup DM from youth system or buy an established name to take over

Still stings to buggery seeing Fabinho in that Liverpool shirt,why on earth didn't we buy him when we had the chance.
 

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I think we have some very interesting midfielders coming through the academy/U23s that will have a good chance of being the backup in a creative sense. And it seems that player will be Mejbri so I'd prefer a #6 who can pass to a good level and is good defensively.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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I think we have some very interesting midfielders coming through the academy/U23s that will have a good chance of being the backup in a creative sense. And it seems that player will be Mejbri so I'd prefer a #6 who can pass to a good level and is good defensively.
It would be interesting if Ole is not think of a DM because of the youth academy
 

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Von de Beek for me . All action player, with a great pair of lungs, who can run forever..... He can play as welll...
 

croadyman

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It would be interesting if Ole is not think of a DM because of the youth academy
Yeah it wouldn't surprise me if Ole gives Garner a chance to be Matic's understudy next season

Personally I would rather we bought someone now to rotate with him but don't think that will happen
 

Adnan

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It would be interesting if Ole is not think of a DM because of the youth academy
I think someone like Jimmy Garner should at the very least reach the level of a Koopmeiners who some have mentioned in the last few days as a prospective purchase. I'd also prioritize Garner over the likes of Ndidi or Rice due to Garner having much more natural talent/ability on the ball.

Unless a stand out candidate becomes available to us I feel we should prioritise Garner and use him as understudy to Matic for next season. I'd use the money on a CB instead. Someone who will help us push the back line up very high, have good ability on the ball, aerially, physically dominant and proactive in his actions both defensively and offensively. There is a standout candidate for the role plying his trade in the German Bundesliga IMO.
 

BenitoSTARR

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I think someone like Jimmy Garner should at the very least reach the level of a Koopmeiners who some have mentioned in the last few days as a prospective purchase. I'd also prioritize Garner over the likes of Ndidi or Rice due to Garner having much more natural talent/ability on the ball.

Unless a stand out candidate becomes available to us I feel we should prioritise Garner and use him as understudy to Matic for next season. I'd use the money on a CB instead. Someone who will help us push the back line up very high, have good ability on the ball, aerially, physically dominant and proactive in his actions both defensively and offensively. There is a standout candidate for the role plying his trade in the German Bundesliga IMO.
Id be inclined to agree with this. My concern is with Garner he needs to start getting gametime now if he stands any chance of taking over. I know he’s still developing physically but he needs a few appearances here and there to get used to the pace.

A lot of people have suggested a loan out but I think if we promote him next year he’ll get enough gametime rotating with Matic and McTominay for cup games etc.

Koop is my favourite because he can perform a Carrick role and is further along his development. He’s also a good leader, age and price. So low risk.

Ndidi and Rice are options but ones I’d take after pursuing a player like Koop. I think Rice is a victim of West Ham rather than being a limited player though.
 

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Don't think we'll sign a pure DM like some wanted here. Ole never played with one, and I don't think he'll be looking to sign one either. I think we'll signed an all rounder with good defensive skill but can also play further up. That's why I think someone like Van De Beek makes much more sense than Partey or other specialist at that position.
He also offers a lot more tactical flexibility than a pure DM.
 

el3mel

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Oct 23, 2016
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Egypt
Both needed, but if we're talking about urgent priority then DMF as we have only really one (Matic).