Why the reluctance to sign a defensive midfielder?

VP89

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Do you think Fred+Garner midfield may work? I feel Garner is a good passer and maybe good option for us, if we failed to land our midfield targets this summer.
I have not seen enough of Garner but from what I have seen, and from some Forrest fans I know, they think he's very good but not necessarily top level for a top PL club.
So I have zero expectation of Garner.

I think Fred's skillset is going to be very valuable to ETH though, and I think his value add is very underrated on the caf, particularly if he's part of a well coached system. I think he can be a pivotal cog in our wheel, but thats just a sneaky feeling.
 

marktan

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Exactly. Midfielders who can keep possession between them will improve us as much as any DM you’d put in a 3 alongside McFred who often gift the ball away too easily.

The idea a DM would solve our issues is nonsensical if unaccompanied by other midfielders who don’t give the ball away, even Bruno is a huge culprit. You could have Fabinho in front of our back 4 & he’d struggle with the workload.
Conversely you could sign a ball playing midfielder but without a DM they'll struggle. For me you really need both. We've seen it when we've asked Pogba to play without a DM, asked Fred to play both as a DM and a midfielder, last season when Fabinho was shifted into defence.. all the top teams play with a specialised DM. Rodri, Fabinho, Casemiro etc, the exception being teams that play 5 at the back and get solidity that way.

The problem we're going to face is that we're going to sign De Jong, and then probably stick one of Fred or Mctominay as the DM when all 3 are box to box players.

Do we really need a 'DM' though? What do we even mean by a 'DM'?

It seems to me that what many posters want when they talk about 'DMs' is a player like Bissouma or Ndidi, but these two are miles off being good enough on the ball to really take us to the level we aspire.

I'm not sure we need a 'DM'....we just need some good midfield players!
Not calling you out - but genuinely curious, have you watched much of Bissouma? Every Brighton game I watched he stood out to me as being excellent on the ball. Having a guy that plays like this would be a game changer on our team imo

 

Bilbo

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I have not seen enough of Garner but from what I have seen, and from some Forrest fans I know, they think he's very good but not necessarily top level for a top PL club.
So I have zero expectation of Garner.
I went to a fair few Forest games last season as I'm up there a lot for work. He's a good quality midfielder. Carrick is a very lazy and obvious comparison to make but there's actually a lot of similarities between the two.

ETH might like him. He's positional very sound so if we need someone to sit behind De Jong and let him do his thing, Garner would be able to do that
 

AFC NimbleThumb

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Conversely you could sign a ball playing midfielder but without a DM they'll struggle. For me you really need both. We've seen it when we've asked Pogba to play without a DM, asked Fred to play both as a DM and a midfielder, last season when Fabinho was shifted into defence.. all the top teams play with a specialised DM. Rodri, Fabinho, Casemiro etc, the exception being teams that play 5 at the back and get solidity that way.

The problem we're going to face is that we're going to sign De Jong, and then probably stick one of Fred or Mctominay as the DM when all 3 are box to box players.
Exactly.

The point is we aren’t a player away.
 

Tavern in the town

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Anyone think we have a chance at getting Casemiro on the cheap? Don’t think he’s going to be a starter anymore since they’ve signed a player for €100m in his position.
 

Lentwood

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Not calling you out - but genuinely curious, have you watched much of Bissouma? Every Brighton game I watched he stood out to me as being excellent on the ball. Having a guy that plays like this would be a game changer on our team imo

I have watched a fair bit of Bissouma yes, mainly because I'll watch a decent chunk of PL games anyway and I'll pay particular attention to players touted for big transfers.

I actually thought he was really poor against us at OT on the ball, and it looked to me at times like we targeted him with our 'press'...whatever that is!

I just don't think he's close to 'elite' on the ball. Think about the players we have had in CM historically, we're aspiring to Carrick/Scholes levels ideally.
 

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I have not seen enough of Garner but from what I have seen, and from some Forrest fans I know, they think he's very good but not necessarily top level for a top PL club.
So I have zero expectation of Garner.

I think Fred's skillset is going to be very valuable to ETH though, and I think his value add is very underrated on the caf, particularly if he's part of a well coached system. I think he can be a pivotal cog in our wheel, but thats just a sneaky feeling.
Yes, I too think Fred is very underrated on the caf. Agree with your point regarding how he might operate in a well coached team too. But Fred is not a defensive midfielder, and I do believe that filling this role is really important if the team is to improve next season.

I like Garner but also haven’t really seen enough to evaluate him properly. I really hope that we get someone who can fill the role Matic occupied at his best, but someone young, hungry and developing. Who that might be I’m just not sure, but it surely must be a priority.
 

SadlerMUFC

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In this case you've had about five different people try and explain it to you, and they're right. Madrid didn't play a true 4-3-3 in the final. I do agree with your point on playing a 4-3-3 and having a DM though.
You really think that's how it works? So if 5 people tell you the Earth is flat I suppose that means they're right?
 

SadlerMUFC

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Okay there Tiger… The pundits mentioned it, the commentators mentioned it, we’ve said it here. Not sure what your footballing background is, but anyone with two eyes could see that Valverde was playing as a RM.

Back to your original point, “the best teams play a 4-3-3”, which is the cousin of “the best teams play possession football”, it’s not really true. I gave you an example of other formations that work, Chelsea’s 3-4-2-1, Bayern played a 4-2-3-1 with Muller behind the striker, and if you look back over the last 20 years, there are two sides who have won the CL with a classic 4-3-3, Liverpool and Barcelona. You may argue that Real Madrid used a 4-3-3, but actually Isco frequently played at the tip of a midfield diamond with Ronaldo and Benzema as the strikers during their CL runs. When utilizing Bale, they did morph into a conservative 4-3-3 and were deadly on the counter. But if you go down the list, Chelsea, United, Inter, Milan, Bayern, Porto… none of them played a classic 4-3-3.

I’m not criticizing the formation of 4-3-3, I’m merely saying the formation is not a determining factor on whether you are a “great” team. SAF bounced between a 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 and won his fair share of trophies and played really entertaining football.
And Kroos was left midfield? Give your head a shake
 

Rayman96

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Well City have just signed Kalvin Phillips. Now they are just laughing at us by signing players they dont even need just to stop us signing them. Not that we would anyway it seems.
Great time to be a UTD fan
 

NewUser777

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We have had numerous obvious flaws over the past years. Through several managers.. But we can’t get deals over the line, and can’t shift deadwood. Another manger bites the dust, and will take the responsibility over how much the club spend on a few players..
 

Teja

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The problem we're going to face is that we're going to sign De Jong, and then probably stick one of Fred or Mctominay as the DM when all 3 are box to box players.
Ten Hag did play a double pivot of De Jong + Schone and Gravenberch + Alvarez.

De Jong is a bit more defensive than Gravenberch and doesn't surge forward as much so I think one of McFred will be a good partner for him and doesn't need a pure defender like Alvarez. The only thing I question is the technique on McFred - can they actually play good passes consistently and keep the play ticking. I don't worry about their defensive ability - even if they're not DMs, they've certainly got a lot of exposure in that role under Ole and Ralf.
 

sherrinford

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I don’t like the idea of him as a no6 on his own whether that is his best position or not.
Surely players playing in their best position is a positive, desirable notion? 'On his own' - I mean, it's not like there won't be other midfielders playing?

Are you of the opinion that we really need a combative, destructive type of holding midfielder? That players such as Carrick, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Thiago Motta or Jorginho would not be suitable?

I want a 4-3-3 because that's how top teams play. They play with a proper DM and two midfielders who can retain possession (that is the opposite of Bruno). As it stands, we don't have a proper #6 in our squad even if we sign Frankie. And by the way...he doesn't even want to play for UNited. Haven't we learned our lesson yet?
I thought we had established that that is simply untrue. Two midfielders who can retain possession? Does that description really fit De Bruyne? No, it does not.

What do you actually mean by 'proper' DM? Are the players I've listed in my response to another poster above not proper DMs?
 

SadlerMUFC

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Surely players playing in their best position is a positive, desirable notion? 'On his own' - I mean, it's not like there won't be other midfielders playing?

Are you of the opinion that we really need a combative, destructive type of holding midfielder? That players such as Carrick, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Thiago Motta or Jorginho would not be suitable?



I thought we had established that that is simply untrue. Two midfielders who can retain possession? Does that description really fit De Bruyne? No, it does not.

What do you actually mean by 'proper' DM? Are the players I've listed in my response to another poster above not proper DMs?
Actually a player like Carrick or Busquets would be perfect. They can/could operate as a true #6. What I want is to see a #6 and two #8's. I don't want to see two #8's and a #10 like we have seen for the past couple of years. Someone disciplined like Carrick who can sit in front of the back two and dictate play would be the dream. And no, I don't think of a DM as a "combative or destructive" type.. Carrick was 10 times the player Scott Parker was.
 

sherrinford

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Actually a player like Carrick or Busquets would be perfect. They can/could operate as a true #6. What I want is to see a #6 and two #8's. I don't want to see two #8's and a #10 like we have seen for the past couple of years. Someone disciplined like Carrick who can sit in front of the back two and dictate play would be the dream. And no, I don't think of a DM as a "combative or destructive" type.. Carrick was 10 times the player Scott Parker was.
Agree that a player of that ilk is ideal, and agree that it's important to move away from playing two natural #8s at the base of midfield. Again though, that doesn't necessitate the use of a 4-3-3 or prohibit the use of a 4-2-3-1. Both Carrick and Busquets can and have operated in a double pivot.

You should be happy if we sign De Jong as he is that ideal player.
 

glazed

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I find it very odd that ETH isn't prioritizing this position. What does he have in mind? Has the club already decided it's Rice next year? I just don't get it.
 

charlenefan

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It's very strange, we're not going to get the best out of De Jong with our current options

(Christ where have I heard that before when talking about a big money midfield signing)
 

Trigg

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It's very strange, we're not going to get the best out of De Jong with our current options

(Christ where have I heard that before when talking about a big money midfield signing)
Well he's not the only player that he'll sign in that area though. Sure, it might not be this season but the rebuild has to start somewhere and De Jong is a bloody good start.
 

Trigg

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Actually a player like Carrick or Busquets would be perfect. They can/could operate as a true #6. What I want is to see a #6 and two #8's. I don't want to see two #8's and a #10 like we have seen for the past couple of years. Someone disciplined like Carrick who can sit in front of the back two and dictate play would be the dream. And no, I don't think of a DM as a "combative or destructive" type.. Carrick was 10 times the player Scott Parker was.
De Jong fits that mould for me. Especially the De Jong of Ajax. The question then is can you get the best out of Bruno in the #8, which I think you could. His starting position has been far too high for my liking.
 

charlenefan

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Well he's not the only player that he'll sign in that area though. Sure, it might not be this season but the rebuild has to start somewhere and De Jong is a bloody good start.
But the logical thing if you're accepting its going to take several windows is focus on one area of the pitch at a time, so get the midfield functioning 100% the way you want it so it's easier for the attackers you end up bringing in in the next window or the defenders etc etc

Doing 50% of this area of the pitch, 30% here, 20% there makes little sense unless there's targets too good to turn down
 

Trigg

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But the logical thing if you're accepting its going to take several windows is focus on one area of the pitch at a time, so get the midfield functioning 100% the way you want it so it's easier for the attackers you end up bringing in in the next window or the defenders etc etc

Doing 50% of this area of the pitch, 30% here, 20% there makes little sense unless there's targets too good to turn down
Well I don't think you do. Ideally? Possibly, but you still need to function in other areas too. Plus he's not even assessed his players as yet. Not to mention other targets might not be known or available. There's a whole host of reasons, but if you can get De Jong now, then you get him, surely?
 

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I believe we will play a 4231 under ETH so Fred and FDJ ( probably ) would be our DMs. On paper it looks good until we have Fred a crap game and finds himself unable to pass the ball for more than 5 yards. Reduce that to 2 if you talk about McT
 

RedRonaldo

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I find it very odd that ETH isn't prioritizing this position. What does he have in mind? Has the club already decided it's Rice next year? I just don't get it.
Maybe he wants to make sure to find the most suitable defensive partner for FDJ, after FDJ move is secured.
 

SadlerMUFC

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De Jong fits that mould for me. Especially the De Jong of Ajax. The question then is can you get the best out of Bruno in the #8, which I think you could. His starting position has been far too high for my liking.
If Bruno is playing as a #8 then we might as well just give up now. Bruno is NOT a midfielder. The only place I want to see him is either in the #7 or #11
 

glazed

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Maybe he wants to make sure to find the most suitable defensive partner for FDJ, after FDJ move is secured.
Maybe. It feels to me like they haven't got a bargain in their sights and it's the most coveted position in modern football so the market isn't offering good value. I just don't see how any decent modern defense can function well without a really good screener in front of it, let alone one with Maguire in it.

That said I don't really expect much out of next season anyway. Employing ETH means we should expect at least some of our poorer players to be coached into quality so given we're not City it's maybe worth seeing how that plays out before we waste a hundred mill on Rice.
 

bond19821982

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It's very strange, we're not going to get the best out of De Jong with our current options

(Christ where have I heard that before when talking about a big money midfield signing)
Care to explain ? At Ajax his partner was Schonne - an attacking midfielder. ETH has a different understanding of DM role. You have no idea how he wants to implement the system.
 

charlenefan

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Care to explain ? At Ajax his partner was Schonne - an attacking midfielder. ETH has a different understanding of DM role. You have no idea how he wants to implement the system.
Well I would have done but I don't like your tone so no I don't think I will

(Picture Captain America when you read that back)
 

devilish

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De Jong would be a great addition to our CM. Pogba was a liability defensive wise and McFred while being decent in winning the ball were horrible in retaining ball possession. I have a feeling that United will try and get top 4 with McFred only to try and get Rice the summer next. He's the player the club wants
 

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De Jong would be a great addition to our CM. Pogba was a liability defensive wise and McFred while being decent in winning the ball were horrible in retaining ball possession. I have a feeling that United will try and get top 4 with McFred only to try and get Rice the summer next. He's the player the club wants
I hope not. Declan Rice is the midfield version of Harry Maguire.
 

glazed

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Care to explain ? At Ajax his partner was Schonne - an attacking midfielder. ETH has a different understanding of DM role. You have no idea how he wants to implement the system.
See that's where it gets interesting. Can that stuff work in the Premier League?

I hope not. Declan Rice is the midfield version of Harry Maguire.
That's a bit silly. First off Maguire isn't as bad as last season. He just needs to play in a well defined system that works to his strengths and hides his weaknesses (which will probably not be high press but never mind.) Secondly Rice is one of the best DMs around.
 

#07

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De Jong would be a great addition to our CM. Pogba was a liability defensive wise and McFred while being decent in winning the ball were horrible in retaining ball possession. I have a feeling that United will try and get top 4 with McFred only to try and get Rice the summer next. He's the player the club wants
I agree with you that, clearly, Rice is the one people at the club love. However, what if our lack of a proper screening midfielder sees us finish 6th again next year? What if Chelsea compete for trophies, Kante finally moves on and Chelsea are like: 'Hey Declan, come back to your boyhood club. Kante's gone now and we're fighting for Champions League unlike Man Utd?'

Sometimes the hierarchy at Man Utd behaves like this is 2002 not 2022. Like we can just put markers down with players and come back to them. There seems to be little acknowledgement that the last 10 years has seen us become less and less attractive to players.

We may well be planning to go for Rice next year. However, in the meantime, if we don't do well enough to be attractive to him this year, we might not get him. Getting a proper defensive midfielder, even a cheap one who has the right instincts (unlike McTominay and Fred who wanna go chasing the ball), could be the difference between looking like a club on the way up or down. I just don't understand how the hierarchy at United doesn't see that.
 

Skills

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See that's where it gets interesting. Can that stuff work in the Premier League?



That's a bit silly. First off Maguire isn't as bad as last season. He just needs to play in a well defined system that works to his strengths and hides his weaknesses (which will probably not be high press but never mind.) Secondly Rice is one of the best DMs around.
Harry Maguire wasn't worth the fee paid for him. Declan Rice won't be worth the 100m+ West Ham will want for him.
 

OpenIntrovert

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It's well known that several figures at the club really love and rate McTominay.
It has nothing to do with the club figures. Players are picked based on their performance in training and their willingness to follow the manager's instructions.

Regardless of how you guys judge McTominay, he has always been someone who gives his best and adapts according to the manager's instructions. So it is no surprise that he has been selected by all the managers that he worked with.
 

devilish

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I agree with you that, clearly, Rice is the one people at the club love. However, what if our lack of a proper screening midfielder sees us finish 6th again next year? What if Chelsea compete for trophies, Kante finally moves on and Chelsea are like: 'Hey Declan, come back to your boyhood club. Kante's gone now and we're fighting for Champions League unlike Man Utd?'

Sometimes the hierarchy at Man Utd behaves like this is 2002 not 2022. Like we can just put markers down with players and come back to them. There seems to be little acknowledgement that the last 10 years has seen us become less and less attractive to players.

We may well be planning to go for Rice next year. However, in the meantime, if we don't do well enough to be attractive to him this year, we might not get him. Getting a proper defensive midfielder, even a cheap one who has the right instincts (unlike McTominay and Fred who wanna go chasing the ball), could be the difference between looking like a club on the way up or down. I just don't understand how the hierarchy at United doesn't see that.
Oh I agree with that.
 

glazed

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Harry Maguire wasn't worth the fee paid for him. Declan Rice won't be worth the 100m+ West Ham will want for him.
Both true enough in any sane world. But it doesn't make either bad players and this isn't a sane world. Worth is a bit meaningless in this context. My three bedroom end of terrace isn't worth a million quid but I could probably get that much for it. Worth is defined by willing buyers, however stupid they are.