This is the fourth instalment of the series ‘Responding to Your Comments‘. Here, I will respond to the comments you have provided on Twitter under the relevent post. I will take a large handful of your comments, correct any linguistic errors due to professionality, summarise any parts that need summarising (the parts I will address) and will write them below. Underneath the comment I will reply.
The question was:
If you could sign three realistic players for the team who would they be and why?
So, let us begin!
Comment 1 (utd_trinity):
“Erick Pulgar (£20-30m), James Maddison (£60-80m) and Erling Braut Håland (around £50m).”
These are some good suggestions. Firstly, let us deal with the prices. Pulgar, despite not being as marketable as other starlet names in Europe, will cost Manchester United more than £20-30m, however, it should not be beyond £40m. Maddison’s range is accurate and, likewise, Håland’s fee is somewhat in the right region.
Secondly, their quality. Pulgar has started in the defensive midfield position for Fiorentina this season. He has averaged 8.48 recoveries per 90 minutes as well as a solid 39.43 passes per 90 minutes at a success rate of 87.1% which is quite solid. Last season, he averaged 40.97 passes per 90 at a success rate of 86.2% which highlights some consistency. Though, he did achieve more recoveries per 90 at 10.67. Nevertheless, these are three good metrics to look out for in a defensive midfielder.
Maddison’s quality is known due to him operating in the Premier League thus I will not expand on him.
Håland has started the season tremendously with 18 goals and 5 assists in only 11 games. He just turned 19-years of age in July! Some may bring up the fact that he is playing in Austria which will inflate his statistics, however, no one is claiming that these figures will be replicable in a better league. Rather, the argument is simple: who else is doing what he is doing?
Three good choices there.
Comment 2 (@UtdShadz):
“[James] Maddison, [Jadon] Sancho and [Rúben] Neves for me. Creativity would be more than fruitful from Maddison and Sancho. Neves would be ideal in my opinion since he has that passing ability which would allow Pogba to move further up instead of continuously picking up the ball from centre backs.”
I mentioned Maddison earlier which I will leave there. Sancho is a great shout. I praised his ability a few times on Twitter but I never consistently recommended him as a signing. The reason for this is that I was sceptical as to whether he could perform in a team with less possession and territory than Borussia Dortmund have. I was given a swift reply. This season, Dortmund faced Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on 14 September in a game which finished 4-0 to Dortmund. However, they only had 31.42% possession throughout the game. A week later they faced Barcelona and despite drawing 0-0 finished with 2.92 xGoals compared with Barcelona’s 0.30 and this was, likewise, with less possession at 40.03%. In their first game of the season they faced Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup and won 2-0. Again, they had less possession than the opponent. In all three games Sancho performed well, had high retention rates and had three goal-involvements in total. These three games, though a small sample, highlighted to me that Sancho can play in a team that give up possession in bigger games.
In terms of Neves there is some discussion that is necessary. Is Neves a good player? Yes. In fact, he is an upper-tier good player with a couple of excellent to world class abilities. He would make a good addition to Manchester United, too, and your thought process is correct regarding how he would impact Pogba’s overall position. However, he would cost the club in excess of £70-80m due to the fact that he plays for Wolves and his contract expires in 2023. For that price there are better players in the world and some of them are even cheaper.
Comment 3 (@ – many of you):
Thomas Partey is an upper-tier excellent player. Last season, he was seen as an upper-tier good player to lower-tier excellent player, however, he has firmly established himself within the upper parts of excellence this season. With 58.10 passes per 90 at 89.4% accuracy, coupled with 9.54 recoveries, he has a fantastic gift of retaining possession as well as winning it back. Against Real Madrid on 28 September he engaged in 17 duels and won an incredible 12 of them. Likewise, he maintained a passing accuracy of 89% despite Real Madrid’s pressing in midfield and attack. Overall, he is a solid player and would be a welcomed addition to any team in the world.
Comment 4 (@readthesinze):
“[Hakim] Ziyech or [David] Neres for the right wing.”
There is absolutely no doubt that Ziyech is the better of the two. Strangely enough he was not signed by anyone in the summer. He has elite stamina, is extremely creative and is a high volume player which is a good thing for a team with possession as it indicates he will be a pro-active participant in attack as opposed to a reactive one. The only criticism that can be levelled at Ziyech is that he loses possession often. At Ajax this may not be a problem due to their superior possession and territorial advantage but this will cause problems at any other club that does not boast this advantage. Likewise, his high volume in dribbling but low success rate (49.5%) emphasise the fact that other players will have to cover for him defensively in many situations.
Comment 5 (@NinjaPirat_):
“Mario Mandžukić – good, hard-working player who is comfortable at ST/LW.”
Within the last week there have been rumours that Juventus would be willing to let Mandžukić leave for as little as £9m. If United are able to sign him in January for such an amount he would bolster our front line considerably when his total package is taken into consideration. As stated he is hard-working and always puts the team first. He can play as a front man and can play down the wings if needed. He is big, strong and can be played off of, too, which is something Martial likes to do.
My only concern will be the length of contract he desires and whether or not United will fail to secure any other offensive signings as a result. If he was signed on a 2-year contract with an option to extent and United, on top of that, remained in the market to sign a forward (both central and wide) then it would be a good signing. However, if it serves as a replacement then it would become a poor signing.
Comment 6 (@ – many of you):
Whilst McGinn has some good qualities he is, for the most part, a mid to upper tier above average player. Due to his dribbling (5.99 attempts per 90 minutes at 64.0% success rate) he is seen to be a much better player than he actually is. He will be 25-years old this month and has not shown anything that would take United to the next level.
Comment 7 (@MajorKeith_):
This is an area of the pitch many are forgetting. I have covered this point before but just for emphasis – Luke Shaw is an average to above average player and nothing more. He is someone who should be replaced in the team especially considering the amount of non-impactful touches he has during a game. Telles has not been in great form, however, his quality and offensive prowess, especially, would be extremely welcomed by Solskjær. On this topic, I do believe United want to sign another left back and I am sure they will look at a replacement for Shaw from the Premier League. There are a few names such as Chilwell and Digne who stand out but time will dictate how it unfolds.
This is the last comment I have responded to for Part 4. Due to the nature of the question a lot of the replies were similar and they seemed to gain the most traction.
I will be publishing this series on a weekly basis so if your comment did not feature this week it does not mean it will not get featured. I hold an opportunity every week for your comments to be heard and merely choose a selection of ones with the idea that they are not repetitive. For more, get it touch on Twitter.