Manchester United manager David Moyes has shifted his attention to Real Madrid star Luka Modric in an attempt to bolster his midfield unit, after finally admitting defeat in the chase for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
The 27-year-old joined Madrid last season for a reported fee of £33 million from Tottenham Hotspur, but couldn’t quite live up to the expectations and was even voted as the worst La Liga signing of the season, along with Alex Song, who joined Barcelona from Arsenal.
Midfield has been one of the areas of concern for the Red Devils and new manager Moyes has specifically stressed the importance of bolstering that department. It is understood that United could lodge an initial offer in the region of £25 million for the Croatian, and would try their best to bring the midfield maestro at Old Trafford.
Need of a quality midfielder
Manchester United badly need a quality midfielder in their ranks. With Darren Fletcher still not fully fit yet and Paul Scholes retired, the midfield demands necessary reinforcements. At this moment, United have Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Nick Powell as first team midfielders. While Powell is too young and not quite ready to play week-in-week-out at this level and Anderson has been a frustrating figure for the club in the last few years, the onerous burden rests on the other two midfielders.
Proven Premier League talent
Both Fabregas and Modric – the two targets, are not only class players, marquee names but also are proven Premier League talents as well. Moyes knows what to expect from Modric and more likely to extract the best out from him rather from a player about whom he probably doesn’t have too much knowledge about.
A typical controlling play-maker
Modric is a typical controlling type play-maker, rather than an incisive one. He generally drops deep and dictates the tempo of the game, by sprinkling passes all around the ground. But, he is technically so brilliant that he can even adjust while playing the role of an advanced play-maker as well.
Last season, under Jose Mourinho, he was deployed as a central deep playmaker in 17 games and featured as an attacking central midfielder in 10 matches– all of them in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The fact that he played the role of a hybrid of the two (controlling & incisive) the amount of passes that we generally expect from him were a bit low, yet it was more than all other United midfielders except Carrick, who plays the role of a regista and naturally plays more passes than any other outfield players.
A different sort of midfielder
Further, Modric will add something different to the current group. While Carrick is a typical deep plying play-maker, Cleverley more of a box-to-box type but flashy, Anderson provides bundles of energy and likes to go forward; Modric is the perfect blend of creativity and tactical discipline.
One criticism that goes against him is, he doesn’t score too many goals (three last season) nor provides too many assists (three). In fact he doesn’t take too many shots on goal (only 32) either compared to other creative midfielders.
Modric is a reliable, busier player and more adaptable, as Jonathan Wilson pointed him out as “first of the new” generation of central midfielders while contrasting him with a typical “enganche”, the last of the Old-school-playmaker like Juan Riquelme.
In 2011/12, Modric recorded more passes (62.5) than any other Tottenham and Manchester United player and only close to him was (who else) Paul Scholes at 61.7.
While United boast a terrifying attack, creativity remains the primary concern for David Moyes. And if the pre-season results are anything to go by, Manchester United certainly need a midfielder or two, if they are to defend their title successfully.