SHOCKING NEWS: Erik ten Hag speaking in an interview “reflecting on how this season is going and how the transfer window went this is probably my worst transfer window as a manager so many mistakes has been made, I WANTED AN ALLISON BUT WHAT I REALLY NEEDED WAS A DECLAN RICE”. The longer the season goes on, the more it is becoming clear that Manchester United’s summer window was a failure.

It's becoming increasingly obvious as the season progresses that Manchester United's summer window was a bust.


Before the season began, Old Trafford was a hive of activity. Even though the Red Devils lacked the funds to acquire a right-back or central defender more suited to Erik ten Hag’s system, they were still able to appear to have resolved the majority of the team’s issues.

Ten Hag wanted his own Ederson or Alisson, a custodian who was more of a ballplayer, so he dumped David de Gea. He thus got back together with Andre Onana, his former Ajax shot-stopper. The Cameroon international has been a valuable asset in the Premier League, putting up respectable numbers, but the Red Devils have paid a heavy price for his repeated missteps in the Champions League, which have made routine saves appear difficult.

However, Ten Hag’s midfield is likely his biggest weakness rather than Onana. All summer long, Sofyan Amrabat was sought after, and on Deadline Day, he was finally brought in on loan with great fanfare. However, both the Moroccan and Mason Mount, the other midfield addition, have been nothing short of a huge letdown.

United require a Rice
Despite his advanced age, Casemiro was signed for more than €70 million last season, but he doesn’t seem to have the same legs and his defensive solidity is lacking from the previous campaign. Due to the Brazilian’s unavailability and Amrabat’s lacklustre performance, Ten Hag has resorted to the excellent work of 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo.

This is Man United’s biggest concern, as Chris Sutton notes in his Daily Mail column: they don’t have a first-choice, elite defensive midfield player. There isn’t a Moises Caicedo at Chelsea, a Rodri at Man City, or a Declan Rice at Arsenal.

“Casemiro had a strong campaign last year,” Sutton wrote. “Better than I anticipated from the thirty-something Brazilian. However, he is currently hurt, and when he does play, it doesn’t appear as though he has the stamina to meet the demands of this level.”

Not in the same league as Rodri, Rice, or any other outstanding midfield player who has the ability to dictate play. Given that Casemiro is not the solution to the midfield’s lack of protection, the decision to allow him to sign a long-term contract is beginning to appear very foolish.In midfield, United needs a specialised defender. Someone with the ability to stand in the way, especially if they have a lead.”

Who might United aim for?
Sutton is right. Rodri has been the Premier League’s clear best midfield player this season, with Rice ranking among the top players, according to data experts SciSports.

Although Casemiro is still ranked fairly highly overall, his performance this term has clearly declined from last, especially when it comes to his defensive positioning. In that regard, he was among the best last season and is among the worst this one.

Sutton implores the Red Devils to take a look at the problem and enter the market in January. Both Crystal Palace’s Jefferson Lerma and Cheick Doucoure rank highly, but the former is 29 years old, and the latter may be sidelined for the entire season in addition to being extremely costly.

Other options include Joao Palhinha and Amadou Onana, but both will come with costs that Man Utd won’t be able to afford in January. The Red Devils appear to be forced to shop outside of the Premier League.

The likes of Andre of Fluminense and Arthur Vermeeren might be excellent choices, but other European titans are also vying for their attention. Erik ten Hag will have a difficult time finding the next Rodri or Declan Rice.

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