Five midfielders United should target if Matic leaves

With Nemanja Matic heading for the exit door possibly earlier than expected, Manchester United will need to replace the Serbian.

The 31-year-old has been struggling with injuries, but even when he has been fit and available for selection he has been overlooked by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Even though United have lost Maraoune Fellaini and Ander Herrera under Solskjaer, Matic has found himself dropping down the pecking order.

He is now playing second fiddle to Scott McTominay, Fred, Paul Pogba and perhaps even James Garner.

The former Chelsea man has only featured in the Premier League three times this season, but has failed to complete the 90 minutes on every occasion.


Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

His last appearance for United was away to AZ Alkmaar on the 3rd October.

Matic doesn’t bring the same calm commanding presence and dominating authority in the middle of the park he once had.

His contract expires at the end of the season and with United yet to trigger Matic’s one year extension, a move in the upcoming transfer window could be best for all parties. ESPN reported this week Atletico Madrid are interested.

Here are five players that could be on United’s radar to replace their number 31.

Wilfred Ndidi

Credit: Alan Hayward | MI News

After finally securing the signature of Harry Maguire last summer, United are already eyeing up another pursuit of a Leicester City star in James Maddison.

But should we already be lining up a potential third Foxes player to try and lure to Old Trafford?

Wilfred Ndidi gives the likes of Maddison and Youri Tielemans the freedom to go and influence matches and link up with Jamie Vardy.

The Nigerian is currently leading the Premier League charts for tackles with 59, but he has only received one yellow card so far this season, it shows his ability to time his tackles and read the game.

He is also averaging 3.3 interceptions per game, there is no better ball winning midfielder then Ndidi right now.

The 22-year-old has also contributed in the attacking department with two goals already this season.

With his contract not expiring until 2023, Leicester would command a huge fee for Ndidi after signing him from Genk in January 2017 for £15.8m.

Ndidi would be the perfect anchor in the youthful team Solskjaer wants to create, but convincing Leicester to let him leave mid-season will be really tough.

Ruben Neves

Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

The Portuguese holding midfielder is showing signs of getting back to his best form after a stuttering start to the campaign.

Neves was at his inspirational best in Wolves’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa in the last match before the international break.

The 22-year-old opened the scoring with one of his trademark long-range goals, but it was his role in the second, which was arguably even more impressive.

Neves won a crunching tackle on the edge of Wolves’ box, which allowed his team to launch a counter attack and go and score a crucial second goal.

The former Porto man has the defensive discipline to protect United’s backline, but also has the passing range to unleash United’s pacey forward line and poses a goal threat with his devastating shooting ability.

Like Ndidi, he would cost a big price, but he would be a fantastic addition


Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Napoli are a club in turmoil with its president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, considering selling his key players, Gazzetta dello Sport report.

The revolt has come about due to the players’ refusal to attend a training retreat last week after a run of poor results. Carlo Ancelotti and his squad reportedly refused to board a bus to the retreat, with the manager skipping his post-match media duties.

Things have turned ugly in Naples for Allan and it looks like there is no way back, this is where United have to take advantage.

The 28-year-old is averaging 4.7 tackles per game in the Champions League this season and 3.6 in Serie A.

The Brazilian is in his prime and would have the benefit of having his compatriots Fred and Andreas Pereira to help him settle in Manchester.

Eduardo Camavinga

Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

The 17-year-old is having a breakthrough year, which has resulted in some of the biggest clubs in Europe already chasing his signature.

Camavinga has played 12 times for Rennes in Ligue 1 season and has already become one of the most talented prospects in French football.

The midfielder is averaging 4.3 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game and after snapping up the talented Hannibal Mejbri in the summer, United have shown a willingness to look to France for top talent.

Camavinga would certainly fit the profile that Solskjaer is trying to build a squad round and it is crucial that United continue to snap up the best young players around.

Emre Can

Photo by Daniele Badolato – Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

The German midfielder like Mario Mandzukic has been frozen out by Maurizio Sarri and was left out of Juventus’ Champions League squad.

Can has only featured four times in Serie A this season and with the European Championships taking place next summer, the 25-year-old will be eager to secure a move in January to boost his chances of featuring for Germany.

The former Liverpool man who left Anfield on a free transfer would add steal, power and energy to United’s midfield.

Can could present the best option for United due to his current playing situation and after playing in England for four seasons, he wouldn’t need any time to adapt to the frantic pace of the Premier League.

His arrival would also irk Liverpool, which is always a welcome bonus, Can scoring the winner at the Kop end to derail their title bid would be the cherry on the top.

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