How Man United could line up next season after £145million midfield rebuild
The Red Devils have identified Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz and Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes as two of their top targets moving forward, as they continue to be linked with a host of big names from across the continent. (h/t Express)
As per claims from German publication Bild (h/t Express), Havertz, 20, who has seven senior international caps for Germany under his belt, is valued at a daunting £80 million by his current club Bayer Leverkusen.
The report adds that United are ‘very interested’ in completing a move for the 20-year-old Bundesliga sensation in a bid to add some much-needed creativity to their midfield, although they face stiff competition from Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Barcelona in their pursuit of the highly-rated starlet.
Meanwhile, Fernandes had been linked with a move to Old Trafford this past summer and he continues to be on the club’s radar heading into the January window. That’s according to Portuguese outlet O Jogo (h/t Express), who claim that United want to add the £65million-rated Portuguese stalwart to their midfield cavalry next year.
It is well-documented that the Red Devils will need to reshuffle their existing midfield options to make way for new arrivals and it seems that they are already making plans to cash in on some of the underperforming stars, with Daily Mail reporting that United have opened the door for Paul Pogba to secure an exit.
With that in mind, here are 3 ways how United can line up with Fernandes and Havertz in their ranks:-
Solskajer has largely preferred a 4-2-3-1 system, with Pogba/ Matic/ Fred partnering Scott McTominay in a double midfield pivot while Jesse Lingard/ Pereira/ Mata have all featured in that No.10 role behind the striker.
However, given both Havertz and Fernandes boast of tremendous tactical awareness to complement their obvious eye for goal, creativity and work-rate, United might look to use them as attack-minded No.8s on either side of McTominay, who looks like the club’s best option in a holding role in the middle of the park.
In fact, Havertz and Fernandes also encapsulate the range of qualities to play out wide on either side of a 4-3-3 system, even though they aren’t natural wingers by trade.
That has been the way to go for United in most games this season and it’s very easy to integrate both the potential targets into such a system.
As they do so often at Leverkusen and Sporting Lisbon respectively, Havertz and Fernandes are very good at exploiting the half-spaces in the opposition’s defence when deployed as out-and-out creative midfielders in that No.10 role.
Hence, Solskjaer will have ample freedom to switch them between central attacking and wide attacking roles should he opt to do so.
This, perhaps, could be another way to extract the best out of both the players. While they like to drift narrow and make the play when deployed out wide, both Havertz and Fernandes are undoubtedly at their best when deployed in central attacking/ advanced box-to-box attacking roles.
Hence, using McTominay as a single pivot with Havertz and Fernandes playing in advanced roles on either side of Daniel James and Marcus Rashford could provide the right kind of balance to both defence and attack.
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Leicester City have used this system to good effect, with Ndidi as the holder and Tielemans and Maddison functioning as the creative outlets and United could well try to replicate that by bringing in Havertz and Fernandes.