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Manchester United might have paid a ridiculous dosh for midfielder Marouane Fellaini but everyone must have understood by now that he is not the answer to United’s midfield woes. He might have Premier League experience, he might play for one of the would-be-heavyweights in world football, if not already but he is simply not the solution. And that’s a reality check.
No wonder why United still get linked with several midfielders even after purchasing the Belgian. It has reported in the Guardian that Moyes would be given a £50m transfer war-chest in the January window to invest on players like Leighton Baines and Ander Herrara.
United tried their luck in the summer for the Athletic Bilbao midfielder, but having failed to meet his £31m release clause, they had to back off from the race. But, it is expected that they’ll go for him again in the January.
However Moyes should take a note that Herrera has started poorly this season and has come under criticism from his coach and club president. He has completed only one league game this season against Granada and those who have seen the match will agree with me that it was a ‘crap’ performance to say the least. Bilbao president has raised his concern that Herrera is not giving all for his team. Should his performance remain the same, will it be advisable for Moyes to go for him again in the winter?
One of the best thing that is happening in Spain at the moment is Atletico Madrid is trying hard to break the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Liverpool target Diego Costa is making all the headlines after his brilliant start to the season but a young 21-year-old technically gifted midfielder is sharing some of the spotlight as well – Jorge Resurrección Merodio aka Koke.
Koke started his senior debut for the RojiBlancos at the age of 17 and has been extremely consistent for Diego Simeone’s side over the past 18 months, appearing in 33 of the 38 league matches.
Koke is a versatile attacking midfielder – he can play on the wings and as a central midfielder as well. And in Simeone’s current system, Koke is often deployed out wide instead of his preferred central position. Having said that, he is not a conventional winger – rather a false winger. The only time he hugs the touchline is when his name is put out on the team-sheet. Players like him drift centrally from their positions, possess great vision, have the ability to find intricate passes and most importantly a terrific football brain to release a player on the run with a through ball.
We find all these in him. This season, he has already racked up 6 assists; joint-top with Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas and produced 21 key passes, second best in the league. Most importantly, with every 3.5 key passes he has attempted has ended becoming an assist. Of course, a large share of the credit should go to the strikers as well.
And he contributes defensively as well, with 8 interceptions and as many as 11 tackles. He provides sufficient cover on the flanks apart from supporting the central midfielders and joining Costa on the attack. With his bundles of energy, he is a sort of Aaron Ramsey and Jordan Henderson type (players who can adapt any position) but obviously possesses better technical skills and talent than both of them.
And he won’t cost anywhere near £30m, rather going by the ever reliable transfermarket.co.uk, his value is somewhere £12.5m which at best can go up to £15-16m during the bidding process. For that matter, Koke is much more versatile at the centre of the pitch and is highly rated in Spain and is being considered as a regular for the first team ahead of Thiago Alcantara. Further, he has already made 3 appearances for Spain and on his way to become a regular international.
Should Manchester United at least try for him in the January?