If there’s one position on the field that Manchester United have constantly been linked with filling this summer then it would be right in the heart of their midfield, most notably a holding midfielder.
One of the prominent names linked with Old Trafford has been Tottenham’s Eric Dier, with The Guardian claiming that boss Jose Mourinho is still pursuing the young England international, whilst The Sun have frequently hinted that Nemanja Matic is highly desired.
Do United already have the right man?
Step forward young Timothy Fosu-Mensah, the 19-year-old powerhouse, who arrived in Manchester three years ago after moving from Ajax’s successful youth system.
Since being awarded his first-team debut by Louis van Gaal last year – coming on as a second-half substitute in the 3-2 victory over Arsenal – he has been highly regarded as an extremely bright prospect.
His progress may have stagnated a little under new manager Jose Mourinho last season, only being awarded four Premier League appearances, but the fact that Fosu-Mensah was offered a new contract extension, keeping him at the club until 2020, says a lot about the raw potential he has.
And, although a lot of his time in a Manchester United shirt has been spent slotting in to defence whenever needed, playing on the left, right and centrally at times, he could thrive in the midfield.
For a 19-year-old his physicality is quite hard to believe, more powerful than the vast majority of Premier League players already, and the impact he could have driving from deep is a scary thought.
During his short United career to date – making 21 appearances in two seasons – he has also shown intent when he is on the ball, even when playing in defence, and, if Mourinho can spot this early and develop both his confidence on the ball and his final pass, then Fosu-Mensah could be a truly lethal asset.
His background and education as a defender also means that he is perfectly adept at doing the tougher, grittier part of a holding midfielder’s role, having a natural ability to hold an attacker up on the ball.
With a keen eye for a pass and a constant willingness to keep play moving forward up the pitch, as opposed to passing sideways, combined with endless stamina. there is true potential for a midfield role.
Mensah already proven in spells that he can compete on the biggest stage too, with his performance against Everton during the FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley, two seasons ago, being nothing short of sensational, considering it was his first outing at the home of English football. Then, he managed to deal with both the pressure and Romelu Lukaku – ironically now a fellow United man – exceptionally well.
Despite conceding a first-half penalty, which was expertly saved by David de Gea, his contribution that day will be remembered for his leadership at the back and one sensational last-ditch sliding challenge.
The speculation mill will no doubt continue doing its thing this summer as the transfer window rumbles on, and a midfield arrival isn’t out of the question, but Fosu-Mensah is one worth watching long-term.
After extremely limited first-team football during last season it is unlikely that he is ready to make the big step up just yet, but Mourinho would be wise to bleed him into the starting eleven more next year.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Footie Central.