Manchester United have signed two midfielders in 2020. Both look like they will be big players for years to come.

Bruno Fernandes has won five player of the month awards since his arrival, while Donny van de Beek has shown signs of being a top class addition.

Yet the search for United’s perfect midfield three goes on.

Fernandes and Van de Beek have had limited time on the pitch together as starters.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reservations over whether the pair have the right balance in a midfield three.

Nemanja Matic is the only true defensive midfielder at the club, and he is 32.

Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
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Scott McTominay and Fred have traits to play this role, but lack the discipline. Paul Pogba is at his best in a role like Van de Beek’s, when there is a defensive player alongside him.

So United’s true priority has to be finding a long term successor for Matic.

January transfer window matters

The signing of Bruno Fernandes destroyed the myth that you cannot buy quality, and value, during the January transfer window.

With Euro 2021 complicating deals next summer, it makes sense to try and get players in as quickly as possible.

Signing Fernandes gave the squad a boost at the perfect time and helped United seal a Champions League place.

Even landing just one fresh face in January could have a big bearing on United’s placing at the end of the season.

Andy Mitten told On the Ball after the PSG game that Matic was not brought on because United’s coaching staff feared he could not cope with the pace of PSG’s midfield.

 

If this really was the case, then it underlines United’s need for a fresh, young and mobile defensive midfielder.

United would then be able to play said new signing, Donny van de Beek, and Bruno Fernandes in a three-man midfield.

Fred, Pogba and McTominay would effectively rotate with Van de Beek, or be utilised as an extra man in a diamond.

There are doubts over Pogba’s long-term future too. So adding in an extra midfielder, who can play a specifically defined role, will ensure United’s options are not left short.

Who could come in?

Borussia Moenchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria is one name who has been mentioned by the MEN. His season so far though has been hampered by injury.

AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer would be an ideal signing; however the success of the Italian side this season makes him tough to sign in the upcoming window.

Weekend opponent Declan Rice should not be considered as he would be overpriced as an English player.

Leicester City’s Wilfried Ndidi would be an astute addition; but again a tough mid-season signing.

David Alaba has played the role for Austria and he is keen to leave Bayern. The 28-year-old could be a stop gap addition this January.

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A move for the younger Eduardo Camavinga could prove to be more ideal. AS report United are interested in the Rennes midfielder.

If United have to wait until next summer to land the club’s top choice, then so be it. But it is a position which cannot go unaddressed.

James Garner has a chance to fill the role – although United should not depend on him breaking through.

The club must use the money available to identify a top choice target and bring him in to allow Van de Beek and Fernandes an extended run together in the same team.

Manchester United Training Session
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