The deadline day signing of Marouane Fellaini wasn’t the awe-inspiring additon that David Moyes needed at Manchester United to energize the club’s defence of their Premier League crown.
Fans were calling for the signing of a creative talent in the summer, but their calls were left unheard. From Cesc Fabregas to Ander Herrera, the Red Devils’ pursuits were in vain. In the end Old Trafford was left with the overly familiar sight of Michael Carrick marshalling their once great midfield. This is no attack on the abilities of the England international, though, merely the poor organisation by the Old Trafford board that yet again failed to address the clear need for a creative midfielder. This has left Carrick feeling the brunt of the abuse from the impatient among United fans. Their belief, warranted or not, is that his his passing statistics (2729 passes in 2012/13) warrant a claim for more assists.
The summer saw players like Isco, Juan Quintero, Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all move to top clubs around Europe whilst Moyes sat back and nestled into his new abode. His realisation came late in the day when eventually brought in the Belgian giant Fellaini. The Belgian was initially available for £5 million less than Moyes paid his old club, but United’s decision to look elsewhere before going back to a hiked up price, only illustrates their mismanagement of the window. Nevertheless, Fellaini is now a Manchester United player, but he certainly isn’t the creative hub Moyes was looking for.
TalkSPORT have linked the Red Devils with Atletico Madrid star, Koke, who would be an ideal fit in Moyes’ midfield and someone the club have been crying out for since the steady regression of Paul Scholes, before he retired. Bringing Scholes back in the 2011/12 season turned out to be bitter-sweet for the United faithful; Scholes brought stability to the midfield, but having to bring in a 37-year old to solve their problem couldn’t have done more to highlight their need for a new midfielder.
Now a Spanish international, Koke has been rather prematurely dubbed the ‘new Xavi’. Whether that comes to fruition, only time will tell, but what is for certain is that he has blossomed under Diego Simeone at Atletico during the last two seasons and has taken another leap in form at the beginning of this season. Shining as the set-piece master, Koke notched nine assists and contributed a further 71 key passes last season, more than any of the Red Devils midfield and already has a staggering 6 assists to his name for this campaign.
Currently deployed on the right of Atletico’s midfield, this doesn’t stop Koke drifting all over the final third to create chances and as the diagram below shows his performance level doesn’t drop wherever he ventures.
Dynamic and creative, Koke fits the bill for United at present. He would give them a different option to their current crop of players and could go onto to become a vital cog in their midfield system. With his nearest comparison in the United team being the energetic, but often unproductive, Tom Cleverley, this 21-year old could become the next big thing to come off the world-class Spanish conveyor belt.
The wait is over...
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