Manchester United’s Midfield Dilemma: Analyzed & Solved (Part 5)

It was established that Manchester United need a “midfield General” to help improve the quality of their midfield. In this final part of the series, we’ll be looking at some suitable options for the position.

(1) Yann M’Vila

Age: 21

Club: Rennes

Estimated Cost: 15 – 25 million pounds

Playing Style & Weakness(es)

M’Vila is a very hard-working defensive midfielder who, as expected of a quality “midfield General”, does great defensive work. He is strong, tall and is great in the air. He is also a great tackler and has a high level of concentration on the pitch. Thus, he makes very few errors.

His passing is quite exceptional. He has an eye for through balls and often looks for long balls over the top, making him a useful player to have when either launching a counter-attack or when playing versus teams with a high defensive line. He has no notable weaknesses.

Suitability to Manchester United

M’Vila would be a great defensive midfield addition for United. He has the qualities necessary to be a big influence in central midfield. He would definitely make life easier for the creative midfielders and would even add some creativity of his own.

Transfer Likelihood

M’Vila recently signed a one-year extension to his contract at Rennes. It will now end in 2015. Despite that, given the club he’s at, he may not be a hard target to acquire. Once a reasonable bid is made and the player wishes to leave, the transfer may very well happen.


(2) Etienne Capoue

Age: 23

Club: Toulouse

Estimated Cost: 15 – 20 million pounds

Playing Style & Weakness(es)

He may not be that well-known, but Capoue is a very good defensive midfielder. Not only is he excellent in the tackle, but he is great at intercepting passes made by the opposition, which indicates that he has a good positional sense as well as a good level of anticipation.

He’s also technically sound as he’s a good dribbler of the ball and can pass very well- short or long. He, like M’Vila, likes to play long balls. He’s tall and has a good build- he uses these two natural attributes to good effect. He presents himself as a useful weapon at indirect set-pieces and defensively, he usually wins his aerial battles versus opposition players.

As far as weaknesses go, Etienne Capoue has one- he commits too many fouls. As a defensive midfielder, this seems to be part and parcel of the trade. However, with better control of his enthusiasm, this problem can be managed.

Suitability to Manchester United

Capoue fits very well into the club’s policy of buying players under the age of twenty-five (25) and he certainly has all the attributes needed in a quality defensive midfielder. As a matter of fact, with the technical ability that he has, in addition to defensive stability, he would add a touch of creativity and flair to Manchester United’s central midfield.

Transfer Likelihood

Capoue recently extended his contract at Toulouse to 2015. He was also recently promoted to club vice-captain. So, there is obviously a strong bond between the player and Toulouse. That has not stopped Schalke from firming up their interest in him, however, with reports suggesting that they have had bids rejected for Capoue. Given a club of Manchester United’s stature, though, should they make a suitable bid, the player’s head may very well be turned.


(3) Jack Rodwell

Age: 20

Club: Everton

Estimated Cost: 15 – 20 million pounds

Playing Style & Weakness(es)

Rodwell demonstrates great composure and maturity on the pitch. He is very strong and he uses this attribute well as he is good at shielding the ball from opposition players as well as muscling them off of it. He also uses his height well as he tends to win his aerial battles. Another good thing about Rodwell is that he doesn’t need to go to ground to win the ball. He usually stays on his feet- something a certain Rio Ferdinand will definitely approve of.

He’s also two-footed and is a good passer of the ball. He, like M’Vila and Capoue, likes to play long balls. He’s also versatile- other than defensive midfield, he can play at center back, central midfield and even as an attacking midfielder. He loves to get forward when given the chance.

As far as weaknesses go, Rodwell needs to work on his fitness. He has just had an injury-ravaged season and needs to prove both physically and mentally that he has fully recovered from it. Before last season, he drew comparisons of Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand- two of England’s finest players. He’s young and has a bright future ahead of him, but he needs to stay fit if he is to realize his true potential.

Suitability to Manchester United

Rodwell would be a good fit in United’s central midfield. Once he stays fit, as was mentioned, he will do well for himself and the club. Sir Alex Ferguson is the right manager to help him develop into the player he is supposed to be.

Transfer Likelihood

Everton were adamant last summer that Rodwell was not for sale. He signed a five-year deal last year, but given Everton’s financial plight, reports suggest that they may be persuaded to part with Rodwell this summer for the benefit of strengthening their squad. Rodwell himself is very committed to Everton, but he may find the prospect of working with his reported idol, Rio Ferdinand, too hard to resist.


Other Players to Consider…

Borussia Dortmund’s Sven Bender and Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martinez.


Overall Conclusion

This series established that Manchester United’s midfield doesn’t just need creativity in order to achieve the kind of improvement that is necessary. Steel is also required.

This summer has proven to be a busy one thus far for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. When the summer spending is finally complete, Ferguson will be optimistic about the prospect of leading his new-look side to historic success before he finally calls it a day. It would be the perfect sending off.


Thanks to for information.

Posted under: English Premier League

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