Why Konrad Laimer should be Manchester United's top midfield target
Manchester United’s need for a midfield signing is already glaring at manager Ralf Rangnick after a number of disappointing displays in midweek. ESPN claim United are keen on on a trio of options, with Jude Bellingham, Kalvin Phillips, and Amadou Haidara linked.
There are reasons against all three. Bellingham is the dream option, but he’s also the least likely. He would cost in excess of £100 million, and Dortmund are unlikely to be willing to sell until 2023 at least, SportBild report.
Kalvin Phillips is Leeds through and through. Players have made the jump in the past, but in his case it feels particularly unlikely.
Haidara is the most likely of the three, although this is not new information. The Times reported United’s desire to sign the midfielder a fortnight ago.
The issue with Haidara is he could be leaving for the AFCON with Mali in January and may only be available to contribute for United from mid-February.
So what if there was a more suitable option than all three? Well, look no further, and step up Konrad Laimer.
Konrad Laimer should be top United target
Manchester United need a defensive midfielder and Konrad Laimer would fill the need a lot more naturally than Haidara would, who is more akin to Fred in style than Nemanja Matic.
Laimer, 24, is an Austrian international who starred for Red Bull Salzburg before being signed by Ralf Rangnick for RB Leipzig in 2017.
The midfield star has played 135 games for RB Leipzig since he joined, contributing seven goals along with his industrious defensive work.
Laimer initially filled in at right-back for Leipzig before making the midfield spot his own. He missed both group stage matches against Manchester United last season with a fractured ankle.
The midfielder knows Rangnick well, with the Austrian well aware of exactly how to implement the philosophy preferred by the Manchester United interim boss.
This is illustrated by the statistic which shows up how well Laimer presses. FBRef.com show Laimer had 189 successful pressures in six Champions League group games, the highest in the competition this season.
Laimer offers what United need
Laimer was man of the match as RB Leipzig defeated Manchester City in midweek. His through ball to Dominik Szoboszlai created his team’s opening goal.
A strong defensive midfielder with an eye for a pass, Laimer could be United’s natural replacement for Nemanja Matic, who is past his best.
Former Salzburg boss Adi Hutter summed up his style, quoted by Bundesliga.com, in a profile which also dubs him the ‘Austrian Ngolo Kante’: “He is incredibly aggressive on the ball, challenges opponents very hard and brings established professionals to the ground. He knows exactly what he wants.”
Signing a player in Laimer’s position should be a priority for United, and there is hope a deal could be done. Laimer’s contract at RB Leipzig is set to expire in June 2023, which could make him available for a very reasonable price.
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