Manchester United’s midfield issues reared their ugly head once again in the disappointing 1-1 draw against Everton at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s persistence with Scott McTominay and Fred, known as the ‘McFred’ partnership, shows no signs of wilting but there’s only so long the marquee signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo can paper over the cracks for.
In yesterday’s clash between Liverpool and Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp had Fabinho and Pep Guardiola had Rodri, two holding midfielders who glue their respected teams together.
Chelsea have N’Golo Kante and that leaves us, the remaining team out of the ‘big four’, without a recognised holding midfielder at the peak of their powers.
Nemanja Matic is still capable of producing the odd dominant game here and there, but his ability to glide across the pitch and cover the grass as quickly as when he was in his pomp is no more.
Solskjaer believes that Fred and McTominay are capable of breaking up the oppositions attacks and protecting the defence.
Yes, they have managed to do that in the past, in some very big games, but this is Manchester United, we need a defensive midfielder who has got it all, pace, power, risk, presence, a sense of danger and most importantly technical quality.
Only a day after being dominated by Abdoulaye Doucoure, it was another talented French midfielder who was showing United what they desperately lack, that was Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni.
Tchouameni dominates Bordeaux
The French international was everywhere against Bordeaux and his performance was that impressive that he was given a 9.9 rating by WhoScored.
Playing against his former team, Tchouameni tested Alexander Nuebel from range, before opening the scoring with a scuffed shot into the ground from inside the penalty area which found the bottom corner.
The French youngster played an influential part in his side’s second, firing a forward pass into Wissam Ben Yedder, who then played in Aleksandr Golovin who flicked the ball past Nuebel.
With the home side in the ascendancy, Tchouameni whipped a curling shot off the bar from the edge of the box.
Tchouameni ended the game with six shots, which was the most in the match, he also made five tackles and three dribbles.
He had 83 touches which was the most of any player, he won three aerial duels and completed 46 of his attempted 55 passes (84%), which was the second highest.
Out of those 55 passes, seven were attempted long balls and six of those found a teammate.
He also made three clearances, three interceptions and blocked one shot to showcase his full range of attacking and defensive qualities.
Where would Tchouameni fit in?
Although Paul Pogba will be able to discuss terms with foreign clubs regarding a free transfer in less than three months time, signing a quality holding midfielder would allow United’s number six to play in central midfield and roam freely.
That would then mean the likes of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can all compete for the left-wing role and United’s team would be more attacking as a result.
After Eduardo Camavinga opted to go to Real Madrid in the summer, United should be at the front of the queue for another talented young French midfielder in Tchouameni.
Despite having a contract until 2024 (Transfermarkt), Tchouaméni’s Monaco got knocked out of the Champions League qualifying stages and are currently in the Europa League.
The 21-year-old is yet to play in the Champions League group stages and with Monaco currently sixth in the Ligue 1 table there is no guarantees they will qualify next year either.
United who will be competing against a host of Europe’s top clubs to secure Tchouaméni’s signature have got to go all out for the youngster who could be the final piece of the jigsaw.
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