Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal told reporters at his most recent press conference that he does not have a quality creative midfield player. Not one.
This is, mind you, a Manchester United team with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera operating as midfielders. And, according to Van Gaal neither of these players are of sufficient quality.
To be fair to Van Gaal, Rooney is more of a false No.9 than a creative midfielder. Di Maria plays better when allowed to maraud the wings of the pitch, as he did for Argentina at the World Cup this summer rather then playing in the centre of the field.
But the likes of Mata, Blind and Herrera are all creative central midfielders and are well suited to control the middle of the pitch.
The quality is there
For years before being brought to Manchester by much maligned former manager David Moyes, Mata was the Premier League's best midfielder.
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In 2012/2013, by far his best season in England's top-flight, Mata provided 12 assists with a further 83 key passes for his former club Chelsea according to Squawka.
While Mata is perhaps more of an attacking minded midfield maestro, Herrera seems to be the creative type Van Gaal is looking for. The former Athletic Bilbao player has an eye for a pass and can distribute the ball effectively around the pitch.
Over the 2013/2014 campaign Herrera had, according to Squawka an 81 per cent pass accuracy and created 53 chances from the middle of the park. Both players have qualities, but it seems that Van Gaal just doesn't agree.
Creativity or Balance?
During his press conference Van Gaal bemoaned that he needs balance when playing a number of his more creative players; such as Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie or Adnan Januzaj.
Van Gaal's solution is to play United's best attacking option, captain Rooney in a holding midfielder role. Credit should be heaped on the skipper who has sacrificed glory in the form of goals for the good of the team.
Unfortunately for Rooney's goal tally he seems to be an effective plug for Van Gaal at the moment. United are picking up points in the league and are currently sitting in third.
One has to ask how long this can go on. United are in some sort of form at the moment but they are very unconvincing. The quality is there but it simply seems that Van Gaal cannot get the alchemy right.