Three defensive midfielders Manchester United should consider signing in 2022

It has been clear for a sustained period of time that Manchester United need improvement at the base of their midfield.

The Athletic report that Ralf Rangnick has already identified that as an issue within the squad, so might 2022 be the year it finally gets sorted?

We have taken a look at three potential options for the German in the next 12 months, at the end of which he may well have extended his stay as manager or remain involved at United in the agreed consultancy role…

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Declan Rice

Rice is reportedly admired by Rangnick and will be the standout option for any elite side looking to bolster their midfield in 2022.

The England international keeps going from strength to strength, but how much will it cost to sign him?

West Ham are under no pressure to sell yet and looking very good under former United boss David Moyes.

There is also the fact that Rice is seemingly looking to become a more complete box-to-box midfielder rather than just a pure holder.

That may suit Rangnick if he wants his anchormen to push forward and help the side press, but time will tell if United – or any big club – makes a real push to sign Rice at the money it would take.

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Aurélien Tchouaméni

We have written about Tchouaméni months before Rangnick’s arrival and there were reports the club were scouting him during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign.

The Monaco midfielder is just 21 but has already established himself as a French international. He can go right to the very top of the game.

Paul Pogba is a fan and even though clubs across Europe have been linked, he should cost less than Rice if United can win the race.

The question mark compared to Rice is adaptation to the Premier League but he has European experience on his side and all the qualities which would suggest he could be a hit at Old Trafford.

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Amadou Haidara

Haidara is probably the midfielder United have been most strongly linked with since Rangnick was appointed at Old Trafford.

Haidara has a £33 million release clause and he is a player Rangnick knows well from his time with RB Leipzig.

He is more of a box-to-box player but would likely play in the ‘number six’ roles in Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system if he did arrive.

There is his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations to consider when it comes to adjusting to United and making an instant impact but he looks like an attainable target at a decent price.

Haidara would help implement Rangnick’s ideas because he is familiar with them already and with Leipzig out of the Champions League, Haidara would be eligible for United’s last 16 clash with Atletico Madrid when the competition resumes in February.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.