It’ll be the end of an era at Manchester United when Michael Carrick hangs up his boots in the summer. But, who can Jose Mourinho replace him with?
Michael Carrick, the last remaining member of Manchester United’s iconic 2008 Champions League winning squad, is set to call it a day on his long and illustrious career at the end of the season. With that, it will be the end of an era at Manchester United as the last of that dominating outfit moves on.
Always an underrated player, his influence for Manchester United is undeniable, having held the fort for several sides over the years, showcasing intelligence and passing abilities that were rarely unmatched by many players at the club.
While Carrick the player will be hard to replace, his leadership inside the dressing room might just be irreplaceable. Nevertheless, a creative midfielder is a priority now for Manchester United, with manager Jose Mourinho confirming as much earlier this year.
“In midfield Michael Carrick will not be No. 16 next season, so we lose a player. It’s there in midfield where we need to — I’m not saying improve — but we need to get a player to compensate the situation of Michael.”
So, as Carrick gets set to join Mourinho’s backroom staff from next season, The Hard Tackle takes a look at three players who could potentially replace him in the Manchester United midfield.
A long-time target for Manchester United, there are very few in the world who can match the high standards set by Kroos season after season at Real Madrid. The German schemer, alongside Luka Modric, has run the show for Los Blancos for several years and has been a key part of the success that they have enjoyed in recent years.
This season, Kroos has created a cumulative 67 chances in 28 outings across La Liga and Champions League, also boasting a mind boggling pass accuracy of 92%. With such numbers and more in his kitty, Manchester United could have the perfect replacement for Carrick, should they be able to sign him.
Recent reports have suggested that Real Madrid might be open to selling Kroos in the summer as Zinedine Zidane plans a summer revamp of his squad. If so, Manchester United would be waiting with open arms to finally welcome Kroos to Old Trafford.
Julian Weigl is a name that has been shrouded in a lot of hype and excitement ever since he joined Borussia Dortmund, aged 19. In just three seasons at Westfalenstadion, the player has amassed over 100 appearances, and has been tipped for greatness by pundits and fellow players alike.
As compared to Kroos, Weigl sits a lot deeper, playing the anchor man role in front of the back-line, using his positioning sense to good effect. But, it is his ability to set the tempo of the game by recycling the ball quickly that possibly makes him an ideal replacement for Carrick at Manchester United.
A passing rate of 86.2% might not be impressive, but it is important to note that the player is just 22 at the moment and has his best years ahead of him. Having shown world class potential in three years at Dortmund, Weigl is a player who can be a fine long-term addition for Manchester United.
Napoli have taken Italian football by storm, with Maurizio Sarri’s men playing a fearless brand of football that has seen them remain in contention for the Serie A title. While their front men have grabbed most of the limelight for their goalscoring exploits, Jorginho has been an unsung hero.
Sitting in the middle of the park for the Partenopei, the Italy international dictates the tempo of the game superbly with his quick passing and slick one-touch play that help open up spaces with ease. His work doesn’t just stop with his exploits on the ball, with Jorginho possessing the defensive nous to absorb pressure in midfield.
A rare set of qualities makes him a near like-for-like replacement for Carrick as he could blend creativity with solid defensive output to support Nemanja Matic as well as Paul Pogba. Jorginho is reportedly one of the players on Manchester United’s target list as well. Only time will tell if he goes on to replace Carrick at Old Trafford.