UK Where Manchester United stand in midfield rebuild as Bruno Fernandes fear raised last minute news
PremierLeague-News.Com- Man United are looking to sign five players this summer with Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen being top targets.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Erik ten Hag has got a lot to work on when he begins coaching his new Manchester United side next week but getting the midfield right may be the most important. The Dutchman is aiming to bring a possession-based, attacking brand of football to Old Trafford and how successful he is will depend on if he can get the balance right in the middle of the park. To do so, signings will be a necessity with Ten Hag aiming to bring in both Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen. Barcelona are looking to cash in on De Jong so they can fund another splurge on ageing megastars and Ten Hag sounded out the player, who he enjoyed great success with at Ajax, for a reunion at United. Eriksen, meanwhile, will be available on a free transfer when his short-term deal at Brentford expires next week. The Dane made a remarkable return to action in January after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch while representing his country at Euro 2020. ALSO READ: Antony is one of three forwards United want to ease burden on Cristiano Ronaldo If United managed to get both deals done they would have taken a massive step in adding the technique and ingenuity that they are sorely lacking, even if they would still be without the defensive midfielder they were meant to be prioritising. Eriksen and De Jong would be joining Fred, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek and James Garner in United's midfield ranks but with so many options, what would Ten Hag's first-choice midfield trio be? Our writers have had their say. Samuel Luckhurst There is admirable boldness in Ten Hag coveting De Jong, one of the most gifted midfielders around, though parachuting him into the worst United team in decades and the most intense league is a risk without an out-and-out defensive midfielder and United do not have one of those. De Jong plays for club and national sides culturally aligned since Ajax titans Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels transformed Barcelona nearly 50 years ago. United do not have so much an identity crisis as their identity (two up top, conventional wingers, chasing games) is obsolete. One of the few guarantees with Ten Hag is he should implement an identity, hence the determination to recruit De Jong. Ten Hag is attempting to modernise United after they tried to turn back the clock under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, all counter-attack and no control. Ironically, Solskjaer touched base with Eriksen three years ago and he gave United a swerve. He has done little since to warrant Ten Hag's interest and you have to be a special player to return to England from Serie A and perform in the upper echelons (eg. Cristiano Ronaldo). Eriksen had three fine months at Brentford and it is fabulous he has been able to resume his career after those numbing scenes in Copenhagen a year ago. You can imagine the United social media accounts replaying the applause he received when he took corners at Old Trafford last month and filming a welcoming hug from Brandon Williams, too. Eriksen, class though he was in the best Spurs team in the last 30 years, should not be instrumental to a United rebuild. Juan Mata is four years older and Eriksen is possibly more alert, but there is not much to separate them and Eriksen lasted six years in the Premier League. There is merit in a manager signing a player he is familiar with but Ten Hag is already in danger of taking it to extremes. Eriksen trained with Ajax at the start of the year as he regained match fitness. Turning it on in the Eredivisie and a promoted club is a different level to United, the most scrutinised sporting institution on the planet. He would be more valuable as a rotational option.
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. Fernandes turns 28 in September and controlling football is not his style. Jolting him might convince him to stop complaining and start controlling. Sections of the fanbase will write off Fred but he should not be hastily discarded from the starting XI, provided United have the personnel to accommodate him. Ultimately, it would be remiss of United to end the window without a defensive-minded midfielder. De Jong would need one as much as the defence. Tyrone Marshall For the last couple of seasons it has looked like United have been in desperate need of a defensive midfielder, but part of the reason for that is they were continually exposed on the counterattack because of a lack of quality and care in possession. This was a badly structured team making poor choices. The fact Ten Hag is targeting De Jong suggests he views the lack of control as more important than the need for an elite holding midfielder and if United want to be a possession-based team they need improved passing in central midfield. Eriksen also fits that bill. De Jong played alongside Lasse Schone at Ajax, another midfielder who isn't really a holding player, and it feels like a similar approach could be used at United, pairing De Jong with Fred. The Dutchman can pick the ball up from deep and help progress United up the field, while Fred has the energy to press and cover the ground. That leaves one role for a more creative player. Van de Beek feels like a squad player at best and it would essentially be between Eriksen and Fernandes. Ten Hag's desire to prize possession this summer might make Eriksen a better fit for that role, given Fernandes is loose with the ball because of his high-risk approach. It would be brave for a new manager to come in and drop Fernandes, but Eriksen's all-round quality might just give him the edge in that midfield three. Steven Railston Although De Jong and Eriksen would represent excellent additions, neither would actually solve the team's biggest problem: United desperately need a defensive midfielder. The midfield will continue to be unbalanced without a specialist to protect the back line. Rodri plays that role for Manchester City and Fabinho does it for Liverpool - both sides' midfields would be significantly worse without those players. United need to sign their own defensive midfielder if they want to contend for trophies again. Bruno Fernandes and De Jong should start in the midfield three, but that means Eriksen would be left to deputise, which he might not accept. A midfield three of Fernandes, De Jong and Eriksen would be unbalanced and leave United vulnerable. The space that United hopelessly gifted to the opposition last season should be eliminated by coaching and some overdue tactical cohesion, however, it will be farcical if they don't sign a defensive midfielder this summer, as it remains their problem position. READ NEXT: Get all the latest United transfer news Manchester United stance on Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford futures in transfer window Manchester United are changing their transfer strategy at the wrong time Manchester United stance on Facundo Pellistri this summer with transfer offers for winger confirmed John Murtough might have to change Erik ten Hag's transfer priority at Manchester United