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Youri Tielemans chased by Manchester United and Barcelona – would he improve United’s midfield?

Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is reportedly being chased by both Manchester United and Barcelona, despite the Spanish side being unable to pay his £46 million transfer fee. The Sun has reported the news, so that means you will need more than a pinch of salt when deciding if it is true or not.

That said, Leicester have financial problems after the coronavirus pandemic which stopped supporters from attending matches for the majority of 2020, ending up losing £408 million after tax during the financial year, which perhaps means the books will need to be balanced in order to avert anything damaging.

It is well known that Leicester will sell their players with Riyadh Mahrez, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell all leaving the club for big transfer fees in three of the last four seasons. It shows that every player has their eventual transfer price, added to the reported reluctance for the Belgian to sign a new contract.

Tielemans signed for Leicester in the summer of 2019 from AS Monaco, and at the time it was suggested that United were monitoring the player, however, no move materialised from the Old Trafford club for the player. This season, the Belgian has played every minute in the Premier League, scoring two goals and two assists.

Since making the move from Monaco, Tielemans has made a total of 120 appearances for Leicester, scoring 19 goals and 21 assists for the club, playing a total of 9,937 minutes of football. Tielemans largely plays as a central midfielder, also featuring as a defensive midfielder, playing a small role as an attacking midfielder.

Should Manchester United be interested in Youri Tielemans?

In a word, yes. Tielemans is a player that has proven himself in the Premier League. Leicester paid around £40 million for the Belgian in the summer of 2019 and in that short space of time, the player has shown his worth. If the £46 million fee that is being reported for the player is true, he could be a bargain.

His current contract at Leicester runs out in the summer of 2023, so at the start of next season he will be into his last year at the club. Leicester seem to want to sign him to a new contract, which seems to be something the player is reluctant in doing at this time – but that could change in the future.

It is suggested that along with United and Barcelona, Liverpool and Real Madrid have some interest in signing the player, which with both Spanish clubs hefty debts, should leave other clubs in with a chance of signing the player. Would he choose to remain in the Premier League or seek a new challenge elsewhere?

The Premier League is a more lucrative league and more competitive with multiple teams challenging to win the league title, when in Spain, it is largely contested between Barcelona and Real Madrid, although Atletico Madrid won the league last season – it is still something that does not happen all that often though.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is currently under heavy pressure at the club, sought to sign a midfielder in the summer, but did not end up doing so, which is one of the major problems right now. This should mean that they hold interest in proven players to strengthen the position at the club.

What could Youri Tielemans bring to Manchester United?

Tielemans is Premier League proven, despite this being just his third season in the league. This is the main attribute that United should be looking for. They don’t have the time to allow a player to settle in at the club, therefore he must be ready for the rigours of the most competitive league in the world.

The 24-year-old has ability and all the other ingredients to achieve at a bigger club. From his days at Anderlecht, before he signed for Monaco, the talent was there and he came to the Premier League with lots of praise. He can be a defensive or an attacking player and seems to switch when needed.

This is what United need. Nemanja Matic’s best days are behind him, despite some good form so far this season. Donny van de Beek does not seem to have a place at United, Bruno Fernandes is a more attacking player, Paul Pogba’s future is uncertain and Fred is not the midfielder United need.

Scott McTominay had a future at the club, but may not be a first-choice player in the squad. Tielemans is good defensively, averaging 1.6 tackles, 0.7 interceptions, 0.9 clearances, 1.5 dribbles and 0.5 blocks per appearance, which is positive and a good reason why he should be on United’s watch list.

In an attacking sense, Tielemans averages 1.2 shots, 0.9 key passes, one dribble, and draws 1.7 fouls per appearance, which also shows he can contribute going forward. This is something that United need as there are not many players who can operate to a good standard in the midfield at the club.

Could Youri Tielemans help United complete their squad?

If Solskjaer wants to achieve at United, the midfield needs to be able to do its job on the pitch, which at this time, is not something that can be said. It is the weakest area on the pitch and it is letting the attacking wealth at the club down as the service has been lacking.

Tielemans averages around 62.3 passes per appearance this season, also averaging an 85.5% pass success rate, which is positive and would help United retain the ball in the midfield with the Belgian passing the ball to more players in the more advanced positions, also getting towards the goal himself.

As was shown in the 4-2 defeat to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday, Tielemans is capable of scoring some sublime goals, floating the ball in towards the goal, beating David De Gea and slotting the ball in at the far top corner of the goal. This is the type of midfielder that United should have at the club.

During the summer, after Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the Theatre of Dreams was confirmed, there was a clamour on social media for Solskjaer to sign Ruben Neves from Wolverhampton Wanderers, as he would have had a massive presence in the centre of the pitch, but it never happened.

This was a shame for United, as it is clear to everyone that the midfield is the major problem at the club and when that has been resolved, United would start to tick much better on the pitch. It just makes me wonder if anyone at the club has the best interests of the club at heart, or just the commercial aspects of the club?

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW