Premier League transfer round-up: Everton make early signing as window re-opens
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Money is not always the answer. But when signings are concerned, new faces lift moods and places. While Manchester United may not be actively preparing to pursue any moves this month, a new recruit would certainly go a long way in helping Ralf Rangnick implement a successful, tactical blueprint.
So far, his questionable 4-2-2-2 has flattered to deceive and once again, highlighted the lack of balance and cohesion within this top-heavy United squad.
Simply cramming the club’s star attackers into the side has failed to pay dividends for both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Rangnick so far, yet there is a signing that opens new avenues for United.
The club need a new central midfielder, one that is different to United’s current options.
They either need a deep-lying, defensive midfield player or failing that, a dictator.
In January, finding one is unlikely to prove easy, particularly at a suitable price.
Declan Rice would prove to be a game-changer but it’s unrealistic to talk up a mid-season move that could be worth over £80million.
Instead, United should shop smart and focus their efforts on signing Boubacar Kamara or Amadou Haidara, who have both been linked.
The arrival of either would surely point towards a change of system, favourably a 4-3-3.
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Scott McTominay and Fred have lacked the tactical discipline to carry this out in recent times and instead, United need a more street-wise defensive-minded midfielder, who can protect and read the danger.
Fred does not simply sit and instead loves to get about the pitch. Kamara and Haidara can do both.
It would give Rangnick the freedom and security to redeploy Bruno Fernandes in his favoured No 10 role.
You then have a solid midfield set-up that enables United to play effectively through the middle of the pitch and out to their wingers.
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani can go back to battling each other for the No 9 role while Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho can all compete for the wide spots.
United cannot play 4-2-2-2 with McTominay and Fred, they are not viable for this system, nor is the system seemingly viable for the Premier League.
Kamara is out of contract at the end of the season while Haidara is keen on a move to Old Trafford having previously worked under Rangnick.
Neither would cost more than £30million and for now, would represent shrewd additions and options moving forward.
In the summer, there’s an acceptance United can go big on a Rice or Kalvin Phillips or whoever they desire but the over-reliance on the limited skillsets of McTominay and Fred is causing problems further up the pitch.
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