With the January transfer window ending, some Premier League clubs will feel better than others in terms of the business they have concluded ready for the second-half of the season.
Manchester United have had a difficult past few months, but the acquisition of highly-rated midfielder Bruno Fernandes should appease fans somewhat. While they do not want to put too much pressure on the Portugal international, he is a player that can fill a variety of roles in midfield that has been sorely lacking.
Whether Fernandes is used as a tenacious box-to-box midfielder, or as a number 10 sitting in behind the centre forward, he has shown quality and determination wherever he is placed.
The question of heart and passion has been a sticking point for United’s fans in recent years when it came to new players, but Fernandes has that mentality in abundance, and appears to be a player ready to run through brick walls to wear the club jersey.
And while the fans are enthused by the prospect of Fernandes, they also know how much more business is needed to be done if the Red Devils are to amount to anything next season. One of those positions is an out-and-out attacking playmaker.
Two players that have come to the forefront of United’s shopping list are: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa, and James Maddison of Leicester City.
Both have been used out wide, as a 10, as an eight and sometimes even deeper in a midfield pivot. Similarly to Fernandes, they come with great pedigree of finding the back of the net as well as the final through ball for the centre forward.
It is arguable that this season, Grealish has been the player to watch. Every time he receives the ball, the opposition defence is quaking in their boots, not knowing in which way he is going to go next. The Villains captain has a certain X-Factor about him that is unparalleled to most players in the Premier League – as well as now the responsibility of leading his team.
Maddison, on the other hand, has consistently been improving with every game. Having risen up through the ranks at Coventry City, the fully-fledged England international has taken his game to a level where fees of nearly £100 million are being talked about.
Both players are likely to be extraordinary expensive, coupled up with the fact that they are British, but are also coming into the primes of their careers and have Premier League exposure. Not only the experience of playing in the division, but excelling.
Grealish provides perhaps more of the X-Factor on a weekly basis, whereas Maddison has a sense of reliability on the pitch with his performances never dipping to a sub-standard rate.
It will be a hard task on both accounts as to negotiating with Aston Villa and Leicester City, and the club, and fans, would be happy with either, knowing they have the tight qualities to influence the final third.
Above all, Manchester United need an out-and-out number 10 and will making in their priority come the summer.
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