Manchester United urged to sign Marco Verratti, and there are cheaper alternatives too

Ashley Young spoke out this week to talk about a dream signing for Manchester United: Marco Verratti.

Quoted by The Mail, speaking to BBC Five Live, United’s former full-back felt the Euro 2020 winner would be the ideal long-term replacement for Michael Carrick – a void the club have been unable to fill since his retirement in 2018.

Young said: “‘I was watching the PSG v City game yesterday and I think Marco Verratti is the closest one and nobody’s gone out to test the water to try to sign him. I think he would be an unbelievable signing for Manchester United.”

There is no denying our need for a holding midfielder and Verratti is one of the few players that can control every game he plays.

Despite having Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, it is Verratti who often stands out for PSG and is their unsung hero.


Big match pedigree

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In the European Championship final despite going off very early in extra time, Verratti had amassed 133 touches, only Giorgio Chiellini (134) and Leonardo Bonucci (141), both who played the full 120 minutes had more (WhoScored).

No player created as many chances as Verratti (2) in the final either. It was the biggest stage in world football, but the 28-year-old was calmness personified.

Although Verratti is almost faultless in possession, only Declan Rice (6) won more tackles than Verratti (5), which highlights his ability to sniff out danger and put in a challenge to win the ball back for his team.

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The Italian doesn’t shirk a physical battle and is always on hand offering himself as a passing option for a teammate.

He’s a man for the big occasion and if he stays fit this season then Mauricio Pochettino’s side stand a great chance of finally winning the Champions League.

Verratti – a United dream

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Having Verratti is like watching an orchestra, he never panics and is always in control. He has unbelievable self-belief and has the vision to punish any team.

He will take the ball in any situation, no matter how many opposing players are around him.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says about wanting his players to instil the United ethos into their games – risk and hard work.

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It’s no disrespect to Fred and Scott McTominay – they both work incredibly hard but neither have the passing range or technical qualities Verratti possesses – but few do.

Some would say he’s too small for the Premier League and he would get bullied, but you’ve got to get near him first.

Verratti is that good that he could have easily slotted into Barcelona’s great Pep Guardiola team alongside Xavi, Andreas Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.

United need that player who can gel the rest of the team together. We have a formidable forward line and our best defence for years, but in the middle we look lost.

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Paul Pogba’s own future hangs in the balance, but having the Frenchman and Bruno Fernandes alongside Verratti could make us unstoppable.

Verratti is that man. But playing for the wealth of Paris Saint Germain and having a certain agent called Mino Raiola makes any potential deal border on the impossible.

But you never know, Verratti could well win the Champions League for the first time with PSG this season and then want a new challenge.

If that was the case then just like Ashley Young said we have got to go and “test the water to try to sign him” because he could transform this team from potential challengers to heavy favourites.

Alternatives matching Verratti’s style

With it being ever-difficult that we actually could manage to prize away Verratti, we have taken a look at players who play in a similar style and could potentially be considerably cheaper.

Nicolo Barella is more of an attacking midfielder then his Italian teammate, but given Inter Milan’s financial struggles, which saw them have to part ways with Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku this summer, further sales may have to be sanctioned.

The 24-year-old has one goal and five assists from seven Serie A matches this season.

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Barella may be more attacking than Verratti, but he is equally industrious out of possession.

Speaking of clubs who are in financial disarray, Barcelona had a summer of torment, but they still have one of football’s most talented prospects in Pedri.

Although he is in the early stages of his career and may be reluctant to leave, if things get worst at the Nou Camp, United and many other clubs could well test Barcelona’s resolve regarding Pedri.

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Similar to Verratti, the 18-year-old can do it all in midfield and is destined to be a star for the next 15 years.

Ajax’s ability to continue to produce world class homegrown talent will never waver and the latest to come off the conveyer belt is Ryan Gravenberch.

With the jury still out on whether Donny van de Beek’s move from Amsterdam to Old Trafford will prove a success, we would be forgiven for entering any negotiations with the Dutch giants with a sense of trepidation.

But at 19-years-old and 6ft 2inches, Gravenberch looks set to follow in the footsteps of van de beek, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs
de Ligt, and secure a big money move. The big problem is a familiar one, his agent is Mino Raiola.

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Across eight Eredivisie games this season, the Netherlands international is averaging winning 1.9 tackles per game and 1.8 aerial duels per game (WhoScored).

He is also averaging 2.1 shots, 1.6 key passes and 3.3 dribbles per game. He’s a youngster brimming with talent who can do both sides of the game.

With his current contract set to expire in June 2023, Ajax could be tempted to cash in on their prized asset.

Verratti would be the dream, but there are other talented central midfield options that would significantly improve United, and the club should be stretching themselves to try and find the right player to solve an ongoing dilemma.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.