Nemanja Matic’s season at Manchester United could go one of three ways.
Option A) Matic’s campaign could follow the 2020/21 season. A bit-part campaign where he featured sporadically, starting a total of 12 out of 38 Premier League games.
Option B) United could sign a ‘ready now’ defensive midfielder like Wilfred Ndidi this summer and sell Matic, allowing him to move on to a club where he can play regularly.
Option C) Matic could take on renewed importance with United deciding not to spend big on a defensive midfielder after investing heavily in Jadon Sancho and hopefully Raphael Varane.
Important role ahead?
The most likely scenario for Matic could end up being ‘Option C’.
United are reported by The Telegraph to be looking at moving towards a 4-3-3 formation as opposed to a 4-2-3-1.
This will place greater emphasis on attack and place more importance on the singular defensive midfielder as opposed to the double pivot system previously used.
A prime Nemanja Matic would have been the perfect player for this system, and if he can show he has still got it, the Serbian could have a new lease of life in United’s midfield.
Last season was a disappointment for Matic. He ended the 2019/20 season strongly before being overlooked (wrongly?) for the Europa League semi-final defeat, and then began the 2020/21 season inexplicably poorly.
Matic appeared to lose Solskjaer’s trust in big games as the season went on and by time the Europa League final came around, he was never a serious contender to start.
A summer break could give him a fresh start. Matic has had a long break and since the start of April he has played 90 minutes only twice. Matic should be refreshed enough to at least start the season strongly.
The Serbian has been back for pre-season early and is on the training camp building up his fitness. This can give him an advantage over Fred, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek in the campaign’s early stages.
Matic could have a big role to play if he can get back to his best, and United’ re-shaped defence could help him too.
Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire will be the strongest defensive partnership United have had in years.
This will make life easier for whoever plays in front of them. Maguire and Varane have a combination of pace and aerial ability to deal with most which gets thrown at them. The defensive midfielder in front still has a big role to play, and Matic should be able to do it well.
One of United’s midfield options is to sign Eduardo Camavinga, a young player who could have a big role in years to come. Matic could play a vital transitional role as the youngster adjusts to life at Old Trafford.
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