“Mobility-wise”- Manchester United legend urges club to avoid signing PL midfield duo

Rio Ferdinand urges Manchester United not to sign Youri Tielemans and Ruben Neves

Speaking on his Vibe with Five podcast (h/t Daily Mail), Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has urged the club to avoid signing Youri Tielemans and Ruben Neves in the summer to address the club’s midfield struggles.

The Manchester club’s midfield woes are not new to fans, with the middle of the park being the weakest link in United’s team for many years now. We have not still been able to fully replace players like Michael Carrick in the squad, despite the Englishman retiring in 2018.

Ferdinand, who is a 6-time Premier League winner with United, said that he would not prefer if the club signed Neves and Tielemans to line up in midfield next season.

“That wouldn’t be my choice, I’ve got to be honest.”

Man United urged to not sign Youri Tielemans in the summer by Rio Ferdinand. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Man United urged to not sign Youri Tielemans in the summer by Rio Ferdinand. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Bruno Fernandes is arguably the only star in United’s midfield that is a truly world-class player staying at Old Trafford beyond this summer, with the Portugal international being a revelation for the side since his January move in 2020. The midfielder is highly influential and regularly pops up with goals and assists throughout the season.

Mobile players needed

Apart from Fernandes, managers have preferred to play Paul Pogba, Fred, and Scott McTominay in the middle, but this experiment has not been successful all the time. To make things worse, there is the prospect of losing Pogba in the summer for free when his contract expires.

Clearly, a midfield reshuffle is needed, but Ferdinand said that he would argue against his former club signings Neves and Tielemans, as they are not the most mobile players on the pitch, despite their talents.

“I like them, good players, but if you think that midfield is getting you any closer to the other teams I’d argue against it. Mobility-wise we’d be lacking.”

Ruben Neves' mobility has been questioned by Rio Ferdinand. (imago Images)
Ruben Neves’ mobility has been questioned by Rio Ferdinand. (imago Images)

United’s midfielders stole the show against Leeds United over the weekend, as they helped the club to a 4-2 away win at Elland Road. Fernandes and Fred got on the scoresheet, while Pogba and McTominay were influential in the middle.

Tielemans and Neves have been brilliant for Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers since their debuts with their respective clubs, and are ever-present in the starting lineups for these sides. Premier League experience and a penchant for goals make them attractive midfield options for United in the summer.

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However, Ferdinand has questioned their mobility on the pitch, saying that our side needs more dynamic players who are willing to press and turn opponents throughout the ninety minutes. This currently is a job set for Fred and McTominay, but one can argue that United can upgrade on them in the future.

Anyone watching our team play week in, week out would tell you that our midfield needs depth and quality keeping in mind the situation surrounding Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Donny van de Beek. Tielemans’ and Neves may not be the absolute best options in the market, but we could certainly do a lot worse than either of them.