Football

Manchester United only need two midfielders

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It has been well documented in recent season that Manchester United are in dire need of midfield reinforcement.

The current central midfielders at United are limited to just Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Darren Fletcher.

While Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs are known to play in central midfield from time to time, but it is not their preferred or specialised position with memorable performances from Jones coming in central defence and Giggs playing wide left.

Michael Carrick had his best season to date in the 2012/13 season, picking up the Manchester United Players' Player of the Year award, while also featuring in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year; highlighting his importance to the team.

His ball retention, distribution and range of passing are star qualities of the player that is unrivalled in the team, along with his sound defensive game when it comes to reading of the game, defensive positioning and discipline, along with his influence on the United team it make him a mainstay in the side.

Tom Cleverley is a player that does the simple things so effectively; his ease at consistently keeping things ticking over with quick, one-touch football and always being an open option for teammates have been at the fulcrum of some of United's best performances in recent seasons, such as the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal.

His secure passing game isn't his only assets however, as he possessing great work rate and energy which has been of massive benefit to Carrick - easing Carrick's work due to his lack of pace.

He isn't a player without flaws though. His effectiveness in the final third has to be questioned with Cleverley arguably being too safe at times and rarely looking for the forward pass. He also seems to fade towards the end of matches, with his tackling ability also coming under scrutiny with the amount of fouls he gives away in dangerous positions.

Anderson is a player that started his Manchester United career in fine form with a memorable performance in which he dominated Steven Gerrard against old rivals Liverpool.

Unfortunately for the Brazilian, that is one of few memorable performances with the player being blighted by injuries during his tenure at Old Trafford. His fitness issues are something that have also come under question and while on top of his game his drive from midfield and defence-splitting precision in his passing have been incredible, he has struggled to maintain that form over a period of time due to injuries. He's a player that could come to the fore under Moyes, but with his injury history that remains to be seen.

The last natural central midfield player, Darren Fletcher has question marks over his future all together. The debilitating ulcerative colitis that struck more than three years ago has meant the Scot's playing opportunities have been few and far between.

His industry, work-rate and ability to cover a vast amount of ground has been an asset to United over the years, but something they currently lack.

Jones is a player that lacks the technical ability, passing ability and defensive discipline to play this role, his future looks set in stone to be at the heart of the United defence and despite Ryan Giggs' brilliance it is asking a lot of the soon to be 40 year-old to perform regularly in that role with the defensive responsibility it brings.

Moyes can look at his midfield options and notice that not only is it light in quantity, but also in star quality. The over-reliance on Carrick is something that needs to be rectified and you can argue that he is the only reliable central midfielder United possess.

David Moyes is desperate for midfield recruitment with the new man at the helm attempting to bring in Cesc Fabregas and Thiago; to no avail. While interest in Marouane Fellaini is intensifying.

The manager is fully aware of the midfield weakness:

"When I got the job, I was made aware of what could possibly be done to improve things," he told reporters in the summer.

"Signing a midfield player was one area where we thought we could possibly add to the squad."

But it isn't just one midfielder that is needed. While one midfielder would certainly improve United, two is very much ideal. Not since the days of Roy Keane have United had a combative, tough-tackling midfielder at their disposal and purchasing one would relieve Carrick of all the defensive responsibility he currently has.

With Kevin Strootman and Luiz Gustavo joining AS Roma and Wolfsburg respectively, the choice is limited, but there are still some available options such as the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia, Marouane Fellaini or even Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin - who impressed during his debut season in the Premier League.

A creative midfielder to dictate play and create chances would be Paul Scholes' replacement too. Cesc Fabregas and Luka Modric have been touted as possible additions and while Fabregas looks likely to stay, United might feel inclined to move for Modric.

With these two additions to the side, United might return to being a European powerhouse once again. The quality of their squad everywhere else is currently very good, but the midfield is the weakness.

Once that is rectified, it could elevate United to another level and allow them to compete on all fronts once more.

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Topics:
Premier League
Football
Manchester United

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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