Manchester United fans hoped the midfield would be strengthened during the summer transfer window.

Instead the status quo remains, and James Garner was sent back out on loan again.

This weekend United are a little more stretched than usual, with Fred suspended and Scott McTominay working his way back from injury.

Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek ensure United have enough options for now to cover.

But what about beyond that? What if United are stretched further? And could there be a player with untapped potential we have not yet seen?

Here is a look at three options for United to consider exploring over the season ahead to fill a gap in midfield…

Lincoln City v Manchester United U21 - EFL Trophy Northern Section Group F
(Photo by Chris Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Hannibal

The most exciting option of the three. Hannibal can do it all. The young French midfielder is an outstanding passer and comfortable dribbling past players.

Hannibal made his debut for United at the end of last season and has been training with the first team ever since.

The youngster played in the role recently for the under-23s, making 116 touches in the game at Lincoln. He is comfortable in possession and the lack of options in midfield make it likely he will get a chance at some stage.

 

Hannibal can play further forward too, but competition for places is more crowded. The 18-year-old has high potential and United will want to harness it. He will get his chances, he just needs to be very patient.

Manchester United v Everton - Pre-season Friendly
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Victor Lindelof

Could a position switch end up being productive for Victor Lindelof and Manchester United?

Raphael Varane’s arrival has bumped Lindelof down to third choice centre-back and he will be on the bench most weeks. Unless he can find an alternative route into the side.

Lindelof has played in defensive midfield before, featuring in the position for Benfica’s B side as a youngster.

United could choose to experiment with Lindelof in the position in training to see if he can provide value. His defensive skills and reading of the game could make this a tempting solution to explore.

Manchester United Training Session
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Phil Jones

It would be truly shocking to see Phil Jones re-establish himself in this Manchester United side. But don’t rule it out completely if he revisits the midfield position.

Jones is fifth choice at centre-back and his path there is blocked.

Midfield is a position in which Jones has played for England before, and now finally fit again, United may want to consider whether the 29-year-old can contribute.

It is up to Jones to impress in training to show he can be of use. This is likely only a temporary solution, and it may not be a popular one. But a Phil Jones renaissance would be a feelgood story if he can stage an unlikely comeback in a position where United need back-up.

Have something to tell us about this article?