The rumour is out there. Jose Mourinho wants to add at least one more midfielder to Manchester United before the start of the Premier League season. And considering the potential deal for Nemanja Matic has stalled in recent weeks, the Portuguese tactician is looking for alternatives.
Two names that have popped up in recent days are Arturo Vidal and Marco Verratti. This is no small feat, as we are talking about two of the best central midfielders in the world. And even though it would be difficult to sign them, the interest from The Red Devils is real. So, what can they bring to the side in case they arrive at Old Trafford?
First, let’s start with the Bayern Munich star. Vidal’s calling card is his versatility. Not only he can play in several different positions in midfield. He can easily operate all over the pitch, and fulfill several roles doing so. He has been playing as a defensive midfielder in Bayern, but he had a more attacking role in his stint with Juventus. And he plays as an attacking midfielder in the Chilean National Team. He would add some much-needed versatility to the team, and he could be paired with anyone in the centre of the pitch.
For instance, Vidal could slot himself at DM with Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba in front of him. Or he could play as a CM next to Ander, Michael Carrick or Marouane Fellaini, allowing the French – and former Juve teammate – to maintain the AM role he fulfilled last season. Or what if Mourinho wanted to play more defensively? In that case, Fellaini and Carrick can operate at CM, with Vidal playing a few meters ahead as a “false AM”.
Like I said, the possibilities are endless.
Verratti is not as versatile as Vidal. But honestly, few players have the traits the Chilean has, so that should not be a problem. In case the Italian lands at United, his role would be absolutely defined. He would be the defensive CM in the team, so he would probably play next to either Herrera or Pogba. Verratti thrives when playing with a more technical player next to him.
The main problem with Verratti would be that there’s a chance he does not adjust to the pace of the Premier League. He has been playing his entire career in France, and even though the Ligue 1 is physical, the pace of the game is slower. He would have to undergo through an adjustment period to settle at United.
What If United Signs Both?
This is an unlikely scenario, but worth analysing either way. What would happen if The Red Devils land both players?
First of all, this would put one of the best midfield combos in the world at Old Trafford. Both Verratti and Vidal are among the Top 10 central midfielders in the world right now. And if we add Pogba to the mix, the possibilities are endless. However, this would also mean somebody would have to leave before the transfer window closes.
In that scenario, Fellaini would be the likeliest candidate to abandon the side. Ander Herrera is not going anywhere since he is an important player for Mourinho. And Carrick will not leave when he only has one year left on his contract. Players such as Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah could go on loan as well.
It is fun to dream, isn’t it? Right now all we know Manchester United are interested in both players. Can they land them? Well, that’s another story.