Michael Carrick is probably one of the most under-rated players in the history of Premier League. Carrick has been an extraordinary servant for United over the years and will be difficult to replace in the midfield department. He has made 467 appearances for Manchester United and is a Premier League legend with 509 appearances which include stints with West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United.
He has a total of 34 career goals, with 24 of them coming for the red side of Manchester. He also has registered 40 assists in the league. For a central midfielder, the stats don’t always reveal the true story and that is the case here with Carrick, who is one of the best deep midfielders in modern football.
We now have a look at 3 players who can replace a legend in the United ranks.
Marco Verratti is a player who is similar to Carrick in terms of playing as a deep-lying midfielder. He has been consistent for PSG and is already a sought-after midfielder in the market. Although he has revealed his desire to play for Barcelona, Verratti could be tempted by Manchester United with an offer he can’t probably refuse.
He signed for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012 as a young midfielder with a lot of potential. He has since then developed into a really mature and composed player in the centre of the park and usually dictates terms on the pitch. He is really good with the ball on his feet and is more of a threat during attacks. He can play anywhere in the central midfield and can play different roles as a central midfielder. He can play as a ‘regista’, or as a ‘destroyer’ or as a box-to-box player, thus making him a complete package.
If Barcelona do not respond to his come and get me plea, then United have a very good chance of luring him away from Paris.
Neves is another complete midfielder, who is more defensive in his play than Verratti. But he is not someone who would just sit back and watch his attackers perform and he loves to get involved in the play. His distribution is excellent and his gameplay is similar to his compatriot, Joao Moutinho. He is also known for his ability to press the opponents and thus making him very good to have off the ball and on the ball as well.
Ruben Neves is only 19-years old and has already matured in his gameplay when compared to his early days. He will further develop when put into right situations and places, and Manchester United does look like a perfect destination for him. It would do a world of good for Neves to share a dressing room of Manchester United’s quality and will grow as a player and also as a person.
He became the youngest goal scorer in Porto’s league history when he scored on his debut against C.S.Maritimo in a 2-0 home win.
He would be a great replacement for Carrick, given his age and potential.
Saul Niguez is probably one of the best young central midfielders in the world right now and is a highly essential cog in the Atletico Madrid gameplay. Simeone is a huge admirer of Saul Niguez and the Spaniard has shown high levels of maturity and commitment for his age. He is widely tipped be the long-term solution in the Spanish National Team’s central midfield and is technically sound. A typical Spanish midfielder, he might be such an excellent signing for Man united, considering the history of central midfielders that Spain has managed to produce.
Nobody can say no to a typical Spanish midfielder like Saul Niguez and he would surely be a great addition. He has already played 227 games in his career and is well experienced for a player of his age. At 22, it would be the right age for him to move to new surroundings as well. He also has ample Champions League experience and can solidify United’s midfield after Carrick’s departure.
He is a typical number 8 that United need for long-term future and what a signing he would be. The only stumble that may occur is his price tag and United, with all the money that they’ve got, would not find it too difficult to deal with the stumble.