5 central midfielders Manchester United could target this summer

Declan Rice

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side badly needs reshaping: Paul Pogba wants to leave, Ander Herrera has already gone, following Marouane Fellaini from January, and Fred hasn’t worked out so far.

While Sporting CP’s Bruno Fernandes – who scored and assisted 42 goals last season - is seemingly on his way, United still need more in the middle of the park. But who could they get?

Sean Longstaff (Newcastle)

sean lognstaff

The Reds have shown serious interest in the 21-year-old, who impressed with his all-action style in eight Premier League appearances for Newcastle last season. He only made his debut in December during an injury crisis, but quickly established himself as a standout player for the Magpies.

The Geordie’s season was ended in March by a cruel knee injury, but not before Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claimed his side “could not deal” with him in their 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park.

Longstaff fits the profile of young, British players that Solskjaer is looking to build his side around after the signings of Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Swansea’s Daniel James this summer.

Declan Rice (West Ham)

West Ham’s Rice is another option for the Old Trafford side – and could be a long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic in the holding midfield role.

The 20-year-old, who made his England debut in March after switching allegiances from the Republic of Ireland, would command a significant fee after signing a new long-term deal at the London Stadium in December.

The Hammers’ Players’ Player of the Season has been a mainstay in Manuel Pellegrini’s side since making his debut in May 2017 – and Manchester City's imminent signing of Atletico Madrid’s Rodri should be a boost to their hopes of signing Rice. One fewer rival to worry about, anyway. 

Youri Tielemans (Monaco)

youri tielemans

Brendan Rodgers immediately benefited from January loanee Tielemans upon taking the reins at Leicester. The young Belgian flourished on loan at the King Power Stadium and looks set for a Premier League return after six productive months in the East Midlands.

Which club that's with, however, remains an unanswered question. Tielemans doesn't want to return to Monaco, who in turn want to sell him. Leicester have made the 22-year-old their top target this summer but can't offer him Champions League football, which could be a deal-breaker. 

Reports so far this summer have suggested that neither Manchester United nor Tottenham are willing to pay £40m for Tielemans, however, who scored three times and laid on five assists in 13 Premier League appearances. It seems baffling considering his form in the second half of 2018/19, when he brought energy, creativity and goals to the Foxes' midfield – qualities lacking at Old Trafford. 

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester)

wilfred ndidi

Ndidi and Tielemans were both impressive as Leicester finished the 2018/19 season strongly – and the Nigeria international is another option at defensive midfield for United.

The 22-year-old made more tackles than any player in Europe's top five leagues across 38 Premier League appearances last season, and will be a crucial man for Rodgers as he enters his first full season as Leicester boss. 

With the Foxes looking to gatecrash the top six next season and under no pressure to sell – as they have demonstrated with a number of their stars since winning the title – any deal would be a costly one. Former Genk man Ndidi only signed a fresh six-year contract with Leicester last summer.

Ruben Neves (Wolves)

ruben neves

Neves has been a revelation for Wolves since joining Nuno Espirito Santo’s side from Porto in 2017, and would be a fine addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.

The 22-year-old already boasts a wealth of experience: he made his Porto debut at just 17, and became the youngest player to captain a Champions League side against Maccabi Tel Aviv when he was only 18.

Neves has scored a number of terrific goals in his time at Wolves – particularly in the West Midlanders' Championship-winning season – but also offers a fine range of passing and a combative style in midfield. The Portugal international would be just what United need as Solskjaer looks to freshen up his side after a disastrous end to 2018/19 – although Europe-bound Wolves also have absolutely no need to sell. Good luck, Ole. 

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