Manchester United’s lack of options for a true defensive midfield pivot is highlighted by Nemanja Matic playing two games in four days.
Matic has been excellent, but it was not supposed to be this way. He is 31-years-old and his contract is set to expire in June.
Instead of being phased out, a lack of planning means he is more important than ever. United can extend his deal, although are yet to do so, and instead focus really needs to be applied on signing a replacement.
An ideal option is Lille defensive midfielder Boubakary Soumare. ESPN reported late last year United were tracking the Ligue 1 star.
Nearly missed out
Amid a frantic search for a striker on transfer deadline day, United came close to missing out on Soumare altogether.
Newcastle came in with a £35 million offer for Soumare and even had a plane ready to whisk him to the North East to seal a move, BBC Sport reported.
Luckily, the midfielder rejected the chance, believing he could land a bigger move in the summer. He’s probably right, considering The Mail reported in January that United, Chelsea and Real Madrid are all keen.
United are fortunate it was Newcastle and not Real who made the play for Soumare on deadline day.
This summer United have a second chance at Soumare and need to be proactive in acquiring his signature.
Amid reports from The Mirror that Jack Grealish is United’s priority, there’s a risk the need for a defensive midfielder gets put on the back burner.
That could be a mistake, as the longest United neglect the Soumare chase, the more probability is he will head elsewhere.
If Newcastle spend the next few months trying to persuade him to join, and Ed Woodward doesn’t even make contact, Soumare may even decide to simply go where he is wanted, instead of holding out of a move which might never happen.
This is why Manchester United need to be proactive over Soumare over the coming months, just like how Chelsea have already struck a deal for Hakim Ziyech.
Switch Soumare’s name out for another top defensive midfielder of choice, perhaps Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey who has a release clause, the position needs to be a priority this summer, whatever decision is made with Matic.
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