Manchester United have enjoyed a fantastic summer transfer window to date, with Cristiano Ronaldo following Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Tom Heaton to Old Trafford. On individual quality and experience, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has the players to win the coveted Premier League title and trophies in England, whilst challenging for the Champions League.
Yet, the Reds’ performance in the 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Sunday exposed the weaknesses in midfield that are likely to serve as obstacles in Solskjaer’s ways of winning silverware this season.
With Scott McTominay sidelined having recently undergone groin surgery, Paul Pogba was used in a double-pivot alongside Fred. Pogba and Fred couldn’t really get a hold in the first half, as Wolves midfield duo of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves ran the show with wide players Adama Traore and Francisco Trincao making a mockery of the price-tag of the United players.
Fred was vulnerable on the ball and ceded possession time and again in the middle of the park, and although he improved a bit in the second half, the game at Wolves was another stark reminder to Solskjaer that he doesn’t appear to have the quality players to strike a much-needed balance in the engine room.
Nemanja Matic is past his prime and has lost the ability to function at the same level for 90 minutes. Fred is not up to the standard to start week in, week out and Donny van de Beek is yet to feature this season. Given the prevailing situation in midfield, it is high time for Manchester United to address the most glaring hole in their squad, i.e. the defensive midfield position.
Is Kalvin Phillips the Last Piece of the Jigsaw at Manchester United?
And with the clamour to address what many feel is the final piece in the jigsaw, the Red Devils must attempt a stunning late swoop for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
Kalvin Phillips, 25, has developed into a top defensive midfielder in recent years under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United. He played a key role in getting the Whites’ promoted to the Premier League prior to last year and was one of England’s brightest sparks at the European Championships earlier this summer.
The Thorp Arch graduate has proven himself in the Premier League and is at the right age to take the next big step in his career. A move to Manchester United, in that regard, would be perfect for Kalvin Phillips as he has the required qualities to immediately walk into Solskjaer’s starting XI.
Kalvin Phillips excels with his passing ability, tackling and interception skills and energy to cover a lot of ground. He could sit in front of the United backline, do the dirty job in the centre of the park and allow the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to cause havoc in the final third of the pitch.
With the England international’s game reading acumen, he could well emerge as the source of counter-attacks and the crucial link between defenders and forwards for Solskjaer’s men. At the age of 24, Phillips can potentially develop at Old Trafford and become a big player for the club.
A move from Elland Road to Old Trafford is a really tough one, but with Leeds closing in on the signing of Daniel James, United must at least attempt a shot at Phillips before today’s transfer deadline.