Say goodbye to McTominay: Man United may sign a £26 million “octopus” to acquire Pogba 2.0.


For manager Erik ten Hag, one of Manchester United’s many issues this season has been the team’s inability to decide on a midfield lineup. The constant chopping and switching in the middle of the pitch has likely contributed to the club’s issues just as much as other elements.

Last season, the former Ajax manager primarily relied on three experienced players: Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, and Bruno Fernandes. However, this season, Fernandes has been the only one to consistently start.

Only six of the team’s eleven league games have seen the dynamic Dane Eriksen start. Prior to his recent injury setback, Casemiro was already a bit of a problem; Gary Neville even went so far as to say that the Brazilian was “torn to shreds” during the opening weekend’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In his stead, Sofyan Amrabat—a deadline-day addition—has not yet lived up to expectations; following the Manchester Derby defeat, treble winner Peter Schmeichel called him ‘off the pace’. Another recent addition, Mason Mount, has also struggled to make an impression at Old Trafford, failing to register a point or an assist in the premier league.

One of the few players who has consistently been a solid option in midfield is Scott McTominay; the Scotland star has recently performed well for both club and country. Everyone is waiting to see when young Kobbie Mainoo will finally return from injury

Ten Hag’s team has scored three goals in the league this season, including a brace late in the game to secure a crucial 2-1 victory over Brentford last month. The United academy graduate scored seven goals during his country’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

The 26-year-old had some comeback after it seemed like he was going to retire over the summer. The long-term viability of this recovery is unknown, though, as journalist Samuel Luckhurst has hinted that he might still experience uncertainty in the upcoming year.

In light of this, it is not surprising that Luckhurst (who reported) has proposed a “midfield turnover” for 2024, with Everton’s Amadou Onana as one player who might take McTominay’s spot and other players in the Red Devils’ starting lineup.

Speculation about Amadou Onana joining Manchester United
Earlier this week, talkSPORT reported that several teams, including United, are reportedly keeping an eye on Onana. In light of their ongoing financial challenges, the Toffee family might need to sell off some of their marketable assets.

The star Belgian player may be available if Sean Dyche’s team is forced to sell, as the former Lille player recently relocated to Merseyside for a sum of £33 million in the summer of 2022.

The 22-year-old was allegedly linked to a £50 million summer transfer to the Theatre of Dreams. Ten Hag and company are valued closer to €30 million (£26 million) by CIES Football Observatory, so it’s unclear how much they would have to pay.

In any event, the biggest teams in the Premier League might be able to resurrect their evidently ageing midfield group by signing a promising young player in January or the summer of the following year.

The way that Amadou Onana plays
Similar to McTominay, Onana is a flexible midfield player who can operate as an advanced option behind a center-forward, in front of the defensive four, or in the number eight position, which allows him to move from box to box. He’s an interesting alternative because of this.

Despite his lack of goals this season, the Senegalese giant’s defensive prowess has impressed. He has fared better than McTominay, who has averaged just 1.4 and 3.7 for those same two metrics from his nine appearances, with 2.5 tackles and 6.5 balls recovered in his 11 league games.

It’s also important to note that Onana has been compared to Paul Pogba, one of United’s most notable players in recent memory, in terms of his attacking skill and flair. Michael Ball, a former Toffee, stated the following during the previous season:

“He’s got talent, and I see a little bit of Pogba in the way he moves around the pitch with confidence.”

The season statistics for Amadou Onana

eleven different games

Eleven figures

zero goals and helpers

There were four noteworthy opportunities created.

85 percentile for passing

2.5 tackles during a game

There are 6.5 balls retrieved in each game.

I won 67% of the duels.

7.16 is the average match rating.

Data obtained from Sofascore


Similar in height to Paul Pogba at 6 feet 3 inches, the 6 foot 4 Belgian striker seems to take advantage of his physical advantages. He’s been dubbed a “octopus” by teammate Arnaut Danjuma for his ability to hold onto the ball and fend off opponents.

The current Juventus player, Paul Pogba, has long been linked to that comparison; during his first spell in Turin, he was known as “Il Polpo,” or “The Octopus,” and former teammate Jesse Lingard once remarked that you “can’t get the ball off him” because “he’s an octopus.”

Paul Pogba’s record for United
When Pogba was at his best, he was an obvious genius on the pitch. Onana’s striking resemblance to the World Cup winner may worry United supporters about the player’s off-field issues, such as his repeated desire to leave Old Trafford during his time with the team.

Whether it was his incredible four assists against Leeds United on the opening day of the 2021–2022 season or his incredible run under then–interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which saw him record 13 goals and nine assists in the league in 2018/19, there were many memorable moments during the Frenchman’s time in red.

Though Pogba’s performances weren’t sustained over an extended period of time, the club and supporters may have expected more from an £89 million investment than just a League Cup and Europa League victory.

The 30-year-old’s bitter exit from the team in April 2022—he was infamously jeered off against Norwich City—undoubtedly reflects the divided opinions of his supporters, but the elegant ace could truly shine when it came to playing.

Ten Hag may therefore have an all-around package on his hands if young Onana joins the team. He may attempt to emulate Pogba’s elegant style while also bringing in his own strong defensive traits.

Perhaps in 2024, raiding Goodison wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the Red Devils administration.


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