Man United Should Forget Milinkovic-Savic Until They Fix Defensive Woes

During the international break, we’ve seen Manchester United being linked once again with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho was spotted taking in the international tie between Serbia (featuring Sergej) and Montenegro in the last week, thus once again fuelling speculation that United are once again on the hunt for the midfielder.

Now while I don’t doubt the twenty-three year old’s talent, I do question why Man ¬†United would make his signing a priority when it’s clear that the defence is the main position that needs to be sorted out within the next transfer window.

Man Utd have a plethora of midfielders with Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira and Fred all available for selection in the midfield berths.

They’ve all played this season, to varying success. I think Jose needs to find the right trio within those in his squad and continually play them. His constant chopping and changing has meant that United’s midfield have been left confused and at times look impotent.

But in truth, I can see the Man United midfield getting things back on track.

The only real reason I can see for Manchester United to sign Milinkovic-Savic is if they are already planning to sell Paul Pogba!

Unfortunately I don’t think the same can be said about The Red Devils backline.

Now it’s not by coincidence that many a great manager walks into a football club and the first thing they do is look at strengthening the defence. It’s the foundation that allows the rest of your team to flourish. If they are constantly making errors and costing their side goals, then the rest of the squad crumbles and suffers badly.

Centrally, in defence, United have looked very weak this term.

Manger Mourinho made it clear in the summer that he needed to strengthen in that area and he wasn’t backed by his board. The performances since the start of the Premier League season have simply not been good enough and merely supported Mourinho’s claims.

Eric Bailly has clearly lost the trust of his boss and with that the Ivorian has lost all confidence in his own ability. It’s hard to see the twenty-four year winning Jose over again. He won’t with performances like the one he had against Brighton and Hove Albion earlier in the campaign.

Swedish internationalist Victor Lindelof constantly looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He looks beyond nervous and struggles with the rough and tumble that you sometimes get in England’s top flight.

When is it time to admit defeat with Phil Jones? He clearly had the makings of becoming a top class centre-half yet injuries and inconsistent form has seen him struggle to reach his full potential. He hasn’t managed to make twenty five starts in one season in the last four years at Old Trafford. Quite simply Phil isn’t reliable enough to remain as one of the club’s top central defenders.

For me, the most consistent defender that they got at Man United is Chris Smalling. He’s the only one that gets any pass marks this term. He has a fairly decent passing success rate at 88.4% and on average he’s winning around four aerial battles per league game. He also has the best clearances ratio at Old Trafford this season.

When you look at it, you could probably say that the club could do with two new centre-backs and dump at least one if not two of the current underperforming crop. So instead of shelling out around £80m on a midfielder or a winger, again Mourinho should be getting more from his attacking players, they could possibly get two new defensive recruits.

There’s plenty of options out there for the United hierarchy and their gaffer to agree upon with the likes of Toby Alderweirld, Nathan Ake, Martin Skriniar, Alessio Romagnoli and Lucas Hernandez all potential targets.

People might say that Jose Mourinho had the funds to bring in Lindelof and Bailly, that he didn’t spend it wisely and that he should then not be allowed to get another go. But just look at the money spent on the defence and goalkeeping positions by Premier League champions Manchester City since coach Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad. The Citizens have spent hundreds of millions on Ederson, Claudio Bravo, Benjamin Mendy, John Stones, Danilo, Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte.

Man City and Pep noticed a problem and spent big to solve it. Man United have to show the balls to do the same or they’ll struggle to get into the top four never mind challenge for major trophies!

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