MANCHESTER UNITED missing a natural holding midfielder has been hurting the side’s progress on and off the ball.
From the lack of technical quality to help the team to play out from the back, to not a single ball-winning midfielder available to help through interceptions and tackles.
Kalvin Phillips would be influential in the Man Utd midfield, reckons Asif NoratCredit: Getty
Nemanja Matic is actually the only recognised defensive midfielder that the Red Devils have.
But he does not have the legs and the energy to play on a weekly basis, with Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having to prioritise his game schedule and play him in the important matches.
On top of that, neither coach adopted a possession-based style of play, which means the Serbian international has had to do more defending than ball-playing.
On the other hand, you have Fred and Scott McTominay, two midfielders who have been regular starters in the midfield pivot but have not shown that they can provide control and dominance in the middle of the pitch – as individuals or as a pair.
Both have shown signs that they can be part of a team that can challenge for a top four place but not for titles and trophies – with the club failing to win a single piece of silverware since the 2016-17 season under Jose Mourinho.
If there was one midfield signing that could take United to the next level it would be Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips.
He is someone who was a pivotal player during the Marcelo Bielsa era and played an important role in assisting the team get back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.
His rise in the top flight also strongly impressed England boss Gareth Southgate, who had no choice but to regularly play him at Euro 2020 last summer.
The 26-year-old has shown an incredible ability to read the game as a No 6 and is one of the best around at breaking up an opposition move by tackling or fouling the player.
Leeds completely missed his presence in midfield during his four months on the sidelines earlier this season, losing 11 of 15 games played in that period.
Those defeats haven proven to be costly for the Whites, leaving the board with no option but to sack Marcelo Bielsa, as they currently sit in 16th place within the league table, eight points above the relegation zone.
Still to face the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea before the season ends, Leeds still have much to do before they can be considered safe.
The Red Devils could kill two birds with one stone with the signing of Phillips, having a holding midfielder who can distribute possession and disrupt the opponent’s threat effectively, as well as taking away an important player from their rivals.
A sale would not sit well with Leeds fans as Manchester United have done the same in the past by buying Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith.
Phillips has been linked with a £50million move to Old Trafford, but if Leeds are relegated the Red Devils could expect to see a cut-price deal for a player who would not want to be in the Championship with the World Cup around the corner.
Incoming boss Erik ten Hag will certainly be looking to improve in the midfield department before he begins to focus on the defence and forward areas.
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