The summer transfer news has been dominated by Manchester United’s chase of Frenkie de Jong of Barcelona. From day one, Erik ten Hag has made it known that he wanted to bring a high-quality defensive midfielder into the club. But, while United have made a signing from La Liga to fill the role, it’s Real Madrid’s Casemiro who has signed on the dotted line.
There had been some criticism levelled at the Old Trafford hierarchy for the lack of quality recruitment, with Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen the only first-team arrivals. And, United had lost their opening two fixtures, with the latest being a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brentford. So, something needed to give, and Casemiro arrived at the club in a permanent deal ahead of the much-needed Liverpool victory.
So, what will Casemiro add to the United? Well, for a start, he’s a world-class player who has won it all. At club level, the Brazilian is a five-time Champions League winner and has been involved in plenty of domestic success in La Liga too. So, he’s a winner with a winner’s mentality, which will be ideal as ten Hag attempts to change the culture and the mindset within.
Of course, Casemiro heads to Old Trafford, knowing that in defence will likely be his former teammate Raphael Varane. So, immediately there’s a level of understanding between defence and midfield. United also have Fred, a fellow Brazil international, in the ranks. And he could go on to develop a midfield partnership with his international teammate moving forwards.
Casemiro, at thirty years old, is also has a wealth of experience. He’s been there and done it, which will be advantageous for United, especially when you consider the level at which Casemiro has done it for years. United, therefore, will have what they’re looking for in terms of a winner’s mentality and the experience of winning via the likes of Casemiro, Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the latter also a former teammate of the latest Old Trafford arrival.
Against Liverpool, a game watched by Casemiro from the stands, ten Hag went with a counter-attacking style of play, and it paid dividends. United were excellent value for their 2-1 win, and it means that Casemiro is likely to be an important cog in the system. For United to be successful in their style of play, they’re going to need someone who can break up play and form a solid foundation in front of the defence. Casemiro certainly ticks this box with aplomb.
Whether ten Hag will continue adding to the United midfield remains to be seen, even though Casemiro and Eriksen have joined this summer. There’s talk that academy product James Garner will be sold, and it’s likely further additions in central midfield joining will mean the futures of Scott McTominay and Fred could come under threat as United attempt to balance the books.