The current situation at Barcelona could only be described as a mess. Their financials are not in a good place, they have lost a major piece of their team with Lionel Messi departing the club, and questions are being asked about the management of Ronald Koeman.
However, in the chaos, an opportunity may arise for United to secure the signing of a top midfielder, to improve on their current options of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has recently said in his pre-match press conference about the sort of midfielder he is looking for.
He said; “Today’s football is about he’s a good 6, 8, 10. Back in the day, you had proper midfielders, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Brian Robson.
“You see players out there who can attack and defend and that’s what we look for, midfielders who are complete and we try to develop that in our midfield.”
Solskjaer wants a midfielder who can contribute all over the pitch, some of the club’s past targets have embodied this philosophy.
Jude Bellingham has thrived during his time at Borussia Dortmund and has gained plaudits for his ability to be impactful all over the pitch. He scored in Dortmund’s Champions League opener against Besiktas and was named man of the match.
United wanted to sign the player while he was at Birmingham but ultimately failed to secure the move due to the player’s concern that he would not get regular football, however, he would currently start over Fred and McTominay in the midfield in my opinion.
Other targets the team has been linked with include Eduardo Camavinga who ultimately joined Real Madrid and now with Declan Rice, who has been labelled a defensive midfielder, but his progressive passing is a vital part of his game.
But back to Barcelona, two midfielders that United could benefit from signing if the situation in Spain doesn’t improve are Pedri and Frenkie De Jong.
Pedri’s current contract expires at the end of the year and the 18-year-old is already a vital part of the Barcelona and Spain national team setups.
It is likely that the team will go all out to offer him a bumper new deal, but if the situation of the club doesn’t improve, he may look to move elsewhere that offers more security and chances of winning long term.
Furthermore, the player played nearly 80 games straight for club and country due to a lack of support in the midfield. Running a midfielder into the ground like this is not good especially at his young age, and if the situation does not improve he may be advised for the good of the longevity of his career to make a move away.
Pedri’s passing and ability to control the game is beyond his years and he would allow United to be much more secure in possession. It is unlikely that United will be able to secure a move for the player, but if he becomes available the team should go all out.
The other midfielder that United should look to sign from Barcelona however is the perfect embodiment of what Solskjaer described in his press conference, and that is Frenkie de Jong.
De Jong is defensively solid. He registered seven interceptions against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night showing how he was ever-present in preventing Bayern from progressing their attacks.
They lost 3-0 but it would have been much worse if De Jong was not on the field.
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But going forward he was also a great asset for Barcelona. He registered 100% pass completion in passes into the final third.
And over the past seven games, he has not registered below 80% in this area of his game. He always looks to play the ball forward and create chances for attacks.
De Jong has a strong relationship with Ronald Koeman but reports from the Spanish media and Catalan radio have rumoured that the Barcelona board are considering replacing the Dutch manager.
If this tie to the club was to be severed alongside the other issues the team is having, it may present an opportunity for United to make an offer for the player and he would greatly improve Solskjaer’s squad for years to come.
It is unlikely that United will move for a defensive midfielder before the summer window due to financial restraints, however, if they need alternatives to Rice, they should consider taking advantage of the problems on the continent.
Would you like Manchester United to sign Frenkie De Jong? Follow United Fan Brands Writer Casey Evans on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and put your thoughts in the comment section below.