Manchester United have spent the summer urgently attempting to persuade a top-tier, Champions League-playing midfielder to join their cause and help Erik ten Hag’s team. They may not have been able to sign Frenkie de Jong, but they did manage to sign Casemiro.
United has agreed to purchase Casemiro for a cost of £60 million, which could rise to £70 million, to finally solve their defensive midfield problem. The five-time Champions League winner will sign a four-year contract with the option of an additional year at Old Trafford, making him one of the club’s best earners.
His addition improves Ten Hag’s midfield, which has been found wanting in losses to Brighton and Brentford this season, and here’s how United could line up with him in the team.
Casemiro built his name and won his medals with Real Madrid throughout the last decade, usually playing in a 4-3-3 as part of one of the best midfielders of all time. He was the anchor, usually sitting at the base of the triumvirate to protect the defense and immediately get the ball to his partners in crime, Toni Kroos, and Luka Modric.
At United, the 30-year-old will not have the same caliber of players on either side of him in the midfield, which is concerning. Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen, on the other hand, can both offer a high level of creativity and may thrive with Casemiro guarding them.
Ten Hag hasn’t been able to use the 4-3-3 at United yet, but with Casemiro on board, it could be possible.
Instead, the management has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation, with catastrophic results. However, this has been due to a lack of a dedicated holder who can perform the dirty job in the double pivot and free up the other midfielder to be more creative.
Eriksen was excellent in a deeper role for Brentford last season, but he was caught off guard twice against his former club, with no choices to pass to. Casemiro, a player who has often demonstrated his ability to take the ball under pressure and move it on, would be an ideal partner for the Dane.
If they can reach an agreement, it will create a firm base for United’s attackers to work from.
Casemiro already has a good working connection with one of United’s midfielders, Fred. In recent years, the pair has started consistently for Brazil, which has been extremely beneficial to Fred.
With Casemiro on hand to sit deep and clear up any squabbles, Fred has been able to play in a more advanced, all-action role, making him appear to be a different player when he dons the famed yellow of Brazil.
If they can recreate that bond in Manchester, Fred may finally achieve the level that many believe he is capable of for the club.