The missing piece of Manchester United’s midfield jigsaw?

According to reports in Spain, Manchester United have made an enquiry for Valencia defensive midfielder, Uros Racic. This comes shortly after Thiago Alcantara turned down the Old Trafford club for arch-rivals Liverpool.

Manchester United are said to be in the market for another midfielder having completed the signing of Donny Van de Beek from Ajax, and are looking for a long-term successor to Nemanja Matic, with his Serbian compatriot Racic reportedly the answer.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Portuguese outfit, FC Famalicao, where he registered 3 goals and 2 assists in all competitions. He was a target for FC Porto in January due to a string of high-class performances in the middle of the park. At 6 foot 4 inches tall, the Serbian is a commanding figure in midfield, and he has previously stated that he imitates his style of play on current Manchester United star Paul Pogba.

At such a young age, it is certain that Racic carries enormous potential, but where would he fit in to the current United side?

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said time and time again that he wants to bring back the old United DNA to the club, by promoting from within the club and by signing young players to progress for the future. On paper, Uros Racic fits the bill. A strong, tall, no-nonsense midfielder with good passing ability and experience in Europe. Despite this, a deal to take the Serbian to Old Trafford in this window may be difficult, here is why:

In the 2019/20 season, United were dealt several injury woes forcing them to not be able to field their strongest eleven. Most notably on that list, the aforementioned Paul Pogba. With the club-record signing ruled out and with Nemanja Matic underperforming, Solskjaer placed his trust in academy graduate Scott McTominay and Brazilian midfielder Fred. The unlikely partnership felt like a breath of fresh air to many United fans, with many suggesting that Fred was the clubs most improved player last season.

However, an injury to the rapidly improving McTominay proved a heavy blow for Solskjaer’s men and he was replaced by the underwhelming rotational duo of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira, a move that left fans frustrated at the lack of quality in midfield. In fact, it wasn’t until the arrival of playmaker Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in January, coupled with the return of Paul Pogba that brought a sense of freedom back to United, especially due to the Portuguese’s instant impact.

Fast forward to August and United are in the Europa League semi-final against Julen Lopetegui’s Sevilla. With only 3 minutes of normal time left, Solskjaer decides to bring on substitutions, in what many believe to be a signal at the lack of squad depth in the club. With United’s only summer arrival to date being Donny Van de Beek of Ajax, fans are questioning the transfer strategy of the club, especially due to persistent reports of a central defender and a right winger being the priority transfer targets for Manchester United.

Although a move for Valencia midfielder Racic would relieve the fans to a degree in which they would be happy to see another new face come to the club, what could his potential arrival mean for the likes of Fred and McTominay who could be restricted game time as it is this season following a consistent run of hot form from Nemanja Matic following the Premier League restart.

Racic’s current contract at Valencia expires in 2022 and it includes a £92 million release clause, however, it is thought a bid in the region of £25 million would secure his services.

Whether United act on this reported interest remains to be seen, but it may be a transfer to keep an eye on for the future.

Would the signing of Racic provide the balance to United’s midfield that many are worried it needs? Let us know and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter!

Written by – Oran Darragh – @darragh_oran

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