Manchester United became the latest team to get linked with a move for Nigeria international Wilfred Ndidi. The 23-year-old has set himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League since joining The Foxes from Genk as the direct replacement of N’Golo Kante. Could he be in line for a big move elsewhere, just like it happened with the Frenchman a few years ago?
There is no question Ndidi would be an excellent addition for any top club. That said, it’s unclear where he would fit at Manchester United right now. The team already has Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic as alternatives for a defensive-minded role in the middle of the pitch. Matic is already above 30 years old, but he is not “old” by any means. If anything, he has the pedigree and experience Ndidi is still lacking.
McTominay vs Ndidi: who has been playing better this season?
An argument could be made about Ndidi being “superior” than McTominay due to his improved passing accuracy – the Nigerian delivers the ball properly in 84.1 percent of his touches, while McTominay does it “only” 79.1 percent of the times. However, the Scotsman spends more time under pressure and that could be a driving factor in his numbers. When playing against lesser pressure in the Europa League, McTominay’s passing accuracy spikes up to 88.1 percent, according to WhoScored.
The Nigerian might be younger than McTominay, but they were born just eight days apart. That’s not much of a factor in a position where players tend to get better with age and experience. Just ask Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo or Claude Makelele, to name a few.
Last but not least, the Nigeria international would be far more expensive. Leicester are likely to play in the Champions League next season. If they were to part ways with Ndidi, they would command a hefty transfer figure. A sum United would be better suited to spend elsewhere.
With Pogba and Bruno Fernandes under contract, and with Fred as a reliable member of the first-team squad as well, there’s not a lot of space for playing time in Manchester United. McTominay seems entrenched in a first-team role, while it’s not clear where – and how – Ndidi would fit. So even though he would be a good signing, he might not be what The Red Devils need right now.