Midfield is where Manchester United's money needs to be spent

Manchester United’s defence received heavy investment in the summer and the side’s problems have proved to be elsewhere this season.

Recent years have seen humiliating defeats to woeful sides, many of them due to a weak and leaky defence. United’s problems have shifted further forward and the defensive signings must now be followed by a serious injection of midfield quality.

Harry Maguire and Wan-Bissaka were brought in for a combined £120million. They have both proved astute signings only two months after a beaming Solskjaer unveiled them as United players, few mention those price tags.

United finally invested in defensive signings

Defensive reinforcements were a long time coming. The same can be said in midfield. Some will say that Pogba (£89m), Matic (£40m) and Fred (£52m) were expensive enough purchases and they’d be right. But they weren’t the right signings and it wasn’t enough. Matic was always going to be a short-term buy to try and bring Mourinho success. Now he needs to move on. Fred was clearly overpriced, though he may come good.

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In defence, Mourinho brought in Lindelof and Bailly for around £30m each. Comparisons can be drawn to the midfield because they weren’t what was needed. Lindelof and Bailly were and are both good defenders, but not team-changing. Both were an attempt at improving a section of the side, but without the required quality. United need another huge midfield spending spree and that’s not in doubt.

Youth coming through, but they need stability

In their youth ranks, United have Garner and Gomes. Both are quality talents but will only have success if they come into an already balanced and successful midfield. For that reason alone, new signings are needed whether they come in January or next summer.

Solskjaer must go through a couple of steps before spending in excess of £60m on a midfielder. The first, and most important, is to finalise Pogba’s future. Will he be at the club? And if so, what role will he take in a new United midfield?

Pogba decision vital to future

United must do everything to keep Pogba and if they can, his future is in a more attacking central role. To do that, United need to sign a new and better Matic, someone who can sit and cover United’s defence while recycling possession in a fast and effective manner.

A third midfielder is probably required, too, because United’s best success under their last two managers has come in a 4-3-3 formation rather than the current 4-2-3-1. Gomes is a prospect in such a system, but United need someone right now to give depth and stability.

If United do invest in midfield and do it properly, they can sort out another section of their side with just two signings. That’s what they’ve done in defence. Now they must do so in midfield. It’ll be expensive, but worth it.

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Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.