Former Man Utd captain Ashley Young has told the Red Devils of the perfect man to fill a void left by a club icon in 2018.
Despite signing Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, Man Utd still possess an area of their squad that comes in for frequent criticism. Central midfield has become a hotbed for debate, with the likes of Fred in particular coming in for fervent criticism from an array of pundits.
Roy Keane suggested his former club’s weak midfield will be what costs them the title this season. And fellow former captain Young has taken it a step further.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live (via Goal), the Watford veteran insisted Man Utd have never adequately replaced Michael Carrick.
The classy midfielder formed the bedrock of Man Utd’s midfield for over a decade following Keane’s departure. Young believes none of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current options are capable of having Carrick’s impact, though PSG’s Marco Verratti could.
The 28-year-old Italian was superb in the engine room as PSG sunk Man City 2-0 on Tuesday night. In Young’s opinion, Verratti would be an “unbelievable” signing for Man Utd.
“The Michael Carrick type has been missing for years. They haven’t gone out and replaced Michael Carrick.
“Don’t get me wrong – Fred and McTominay are good players but I don’t think there’s a Michael Carrick around.
“I was watching the PSG v City game yesterday and I think Marco Verratti is the closest one and nobody’s gone out to test the water to try to sign him. I think he would be an unbelievable signing for Manchester United.”
Young then turned his attention to Paul Pogba. The Frenchman has been deployed mainly on the left flank lately, something Young believes Solskjaer is “missing a trick” with.
“I think (United) are missing a trick in the centre of midfield. I think Paul needs to play there,” Young added. “At the weekend he was playing out towards the left, I don’t think that’s Paul’s best position.
“I think he wants to control play and he wants to dictate. He’s a player who can find passes, the way Carrick used to do.”
Koeman on the brink at Barcelona, who will replace him?
Man Utd boosted in Pogba successor hunt
Meanwhile, AC Milan plan to incorporate Bordeaux loanee Yacine Adli into their first team as an ideal successor to Manchester United target Franck Kessie, according to a report.
Kessie will, as it stands, become a high-profile free agent when the current season ends. He has entered the final year of his deal in Milan, but has made little progress over an extension.
Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham all reportedly have interest in Kessie. According to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), the Red Devils want the Ivory Coast international to be Paul Pogba’s successor.
Milan have reportedly offered their 24-year-old midfielder a new five-year contract worth €6.5million per season. However, Kessie and his representatives want €8million (£6.9million).
Gazzetta dello Sport adds that both sides look unlikely to close the gap to a new deal.
Adli, meanwhile, is three years younger than Kessie. The Frenchman joined Milan this summer from Bordeaux, but moved back to his home country on loan for the season.
READ MORE: ‘Positive outcome’ close on Kalvin Phillips future as Bielsa talks Man Utd links