Manchester United are set to pursue a move for a holding midfield player in the January transfer window after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was frustrated in his summer transfer window demand
Former Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left unhappy that the club failed to sign a holding midfielder in the summer.
The Red Devils had been strongly linked with a move for a central midfielder in the summer but despite four first-team squad signings, the position was not replenished.
Fred and Scott McTominay have often been deployed as a double defensive pivot this season, but United’s midfield frailties were exposed in the final months of Solskjaer’s rein – with seven different combinations used.
Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has emerged as a target for United while RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara – who interim coach Ralf Rangnick worked with at the Bundesliga club – is also on United’s radar.
There is every chance Rangnick could view Haidara as his ideal first signing in the Old Trafford hot-seat, given they already have a previous working relationship from the 63-year-old’s time as RB Leipzig boss.
Malian international Haidara had emerged as one of the Bundesliga’s leading midfielders while admitting he grew up as a fan of United.
Rangnick’s preferred 4-2-2-2 formation requires two holding midfielders which is likely to strengthen his hand in attempts to bolster his options in the position.
Former United boss Solskjaer was frustrated by the club’s inability to sign a holding midfielder this summer, as per the Manchester Evening News, but that avenue may now be reopened in January.
Monaco midfielder Tchouameni partnered Paul Pogba in the France midfield as they won the Nations League in October, prompting suggestions the two will complement each other at club level.
United may have had a change of heart by viewing how well he links up with Pogba, with whom he shares similar attributes in terms of his technique, vision and physical attributes; able to beat opponents and add strength.
Pogba said of Tchouameni: “He’s not a boy, he’s a man.
“It’s a pleasure to play next to him, he provides a lot… plenty of energy, technical quality and extraordinary physicality. I hope to play plenty of games together and always be on his side.”
United’s midfield worries are heightened by Pogba now entering the final six months of his contract while Nemanja Matic is now 33 and his deal will expire the following summer.
Donny van de Beek was deployed in the position in the home game against Young Boys in the Champions League but it is not his natural role.
United were unsuccessful in their attempts to sign Eduardo Camavinga this summer – the teenager was intent on joining Real Madrid – while Declan Rice’s £100million price tag at West Ham made him unattainable.
Pogba, alongside Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are all approaching the end of their contracts while Anthony Martial could also depart Old Trafford in January – potentially freeing up a significant section of wages.