Manchester United may well bolster their midfield ranks this summer.
Another Premier League option apparently on the radar is Aston Villa’s John McGinn, according to the Athletic.
The Sun linked McGinn with United in July 2019, just after Villa had been promoted to the Premier League.
Some United fans may want a bigger or more glamorous name, but there’s a case to be made for McGinn too.
McGinn is apparently admired by none other than Sir Alex Ferguson, who wanted United to take a look, and is close friends with the Scotland international’s grandfather.
The Athletic claim that United’s technical director Darren Fletcher is also a big fan of his fellow Scot.
McGinn is an energetic midfielder who can go box to box, with a decent left foot to boot.
A look at his attacking numbers from last season – via WhoScored – underlines why United might be interested.
In the Premier League, McGinn picked up more assists (5) than Scott McTominay (1), Fred (0) and Paul Pogba (3) combined.
His three league goals was the same as Pogba, two more than Fred and just one fewer than international teammate McTominay.
He takes more shots per game (1.2) and makes more key passes (1.1) than United’s trio. His 1.4 dribbles a match is higher than McTominay and Fred (0.8).
It might be more intriguing for United to sign a big name from abroad, but McGinn knows the league and you could make the case for him being an upgrade on Fred as an workaholic, left-footed central midfielder.
How does he fit into United’s spending?
There’s no real indication of how much United would need to pay to land McGinn. A good Euro 2020 could boost his profile and price.
Villa have been able to hold firm over Jack Grealish and you’d imagine they’d look to do similar over McGinn.
But he should be available for less than it would take to sign Rice.
Some might argue that central defender, right midfield and striker are priorities over central midfield this summer.
But United do need more from their deeper midfielders. Nemanja Matic must be phased out and there shouldn’t be so much reliance on Fred.
Paul Pogba’s future remains up in the air, as his contract approaches its final year. If he leaves this summer, the picture changes again.
It’s easy to see why Fletcher is a fan. There are similarities in their games in terms of having boundless energy, being selfless and the ability to do a bit of everything.
United owe lots of their success under Ferguson to players like that, who wouldn’t get fans excited but always did their jobs and never let the manager down.
McGinn shouldn’t be written off as an option just because he’s not a superstar with Champions League experience.
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