Herrera Fiasco A Symptom Of An Incompetent Board
April 2, 2019
As always during the international break, the rumourville went into overdrive at the end of March as the media try as they can to keep our minds active during the tedious week and a half without club football.
One of the players at the centre of this certain rumourville was Manchester United’s midfield stalwart and fan favourite, Ander Herrera, who is at the moment playing a crucial role in the middle of the pitch for Ole Solskjaer’s reborn side, but is yet to receive that deserved contract extension.
Recent stories in England and Spain have stated that the 29-year-old is being linked with the likes of Arsenal, Barcelona and Juventus. Meanwhile, the majority of reports in France report that he has already agreed contract terms with Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain and is expected to join the European giants at the end of June when his contract comes to an end. And this comes as a huge concern for United.
If we look at United’s squad at present, it’s already a squad that is lacking a natural defensive midfielder and a deep-lying playmaker, whilst a like-for-like replacement for Marouane Fellaini is what was needed in the January transfer window. On that note, letting go of Herrera does not make sense at all, unless the board and Ed Woodward have two to three midfield targets in mind for the summer.
The likes of Andreas Pereira, Fred and Scott McTominay have the potential to have a good career at Old Trafford and play a huge role towards the team, but at the moment, they are not mentally ready to play for the side on a regular basis. Nemanja Matic has bags of experience despite not being the same player he once was at Chelsea, and Paul Pogba’s long-term future is actually not clear as of yet – especially after his comments while on international duty.
Just looking at the midfielders that have been mentioned, it’s quite clear that the midfield department is missing the quality that is needed in order to compete in all competitions effectively. Also, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made as permanent manager at the end of last week, he will be looking to strengthen in this crucial area as the current midfield trio have been inconsistent.
Focusing back on Herrera, he has been playing in the Premier League for five years and simply gets what it means to play for Manchester United, which cannot be said the same about many of the squad. Over the last couple of seasons, he has shown an incredible intelligence to play as a defensive midfielder, a box to box midfielder, or as an advanced midfielder.
On top of that, the Spaniard has played a massive role for both Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, and is also now playing a huge part for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side too. Although he may not be in the club’s long-term plans, having his presence on and off the pitch for another season or two would be ideal, especially given that Fred or Pereira will be prepared to potentially play regularly by then.
With individuals such as Abdoulaye Doucoure, Adrien Rabiot and Ruben Neves being linked with a potential move to Old Trafford just a couple of months ahead of the summer window, it is more than clear that United are starting to target the right players that are needed for the current system they are playing in, rather than the big name stars that could possibly be available within the market.
If one of the targeted trio were to arrive into the club over the summer, they may need a couple of months to half a season, to settle into a team that is expected to challenge in every competition they take part in, from the Champions League to the FA Cup. So in order to stay a few steps ahead of any dilemmas or issues, it would be a dream outcome to keep a player like Herrera for at least another campaign or two.
Overall, the blame should be laid out on the board and Ed Woodward, who should have actually tied the Spanish international down on a new contract last summer and just ahead of going into the 2018/19 season. Had that been the case, the club would be able to work on strengthening the defence and the attack, where the main problems have been showing for the last few years.
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Author: Asif Norat
Asif is a Man United through the good and bad, and a Premier League and La Liga expert who's always on the lookout for young and rising talents, no matter which league they play in. Working on football podcasts here and there, he can be reached at email@example.com