Manchester United have been truly blessed this season by the emergence of the fantastic 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo.
In the world of Moises Caicedo costing £105 million, it’s tough to even speculate on how much Manchester United would want for Kobbie Mainoo. He’s absolutely priceless and if Ineos play their cards right, the midfield at Old Trafford could be half-solved for the next decade already.
This is something iconic red, Gary Neville agrees with as he described 18-year-old Mainoo as having the world at his feet and also mentioned that he will do for the 15 years easily.
The problem however is that he needs a partner. With Casemiro likely on his final legs at the club and no real other proper option currently at the club, it looks increasingly probable that United will be in the midfield market this summer.
But who the club go for is arguably Ineos’ and Omar Berrada‘s biggest decision yet as it could define an era at the Theatre of Dreams.
Here are four options for United to partner with Mainoo for the next decade…
Amadou Onana – Everton
The first name on this list is one which many will be familiar with thanks to his incredible Premier League displays, Amadou Onana.
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The 6ft 5, Belgian is highly sought after with Arsenal and Barcelona among his suitors and therefore United would face a tough battle to sign him.
But if they were to come out on top in that battle, he could be the perfect partner for Mainoo. Being 22 years old, he’s a player who could lock up the midfield for a decade next to Mainoo but has that extra experience that United’s number 37 currently lacks.
FotMob displays Onana’s defensive numbers and they’re really impressive. On average, he wins eight duels per 90 which is in the 91st percentile among his positional peers, along with seven recoveries per 90 (84th percentile).
He’s a player United wanted in January and they’re certain to return in the summer, with Roy Keane also urging United to make the move.
Joao Neves – Benfica
Alongside Onana there is one other who would be an perfect partner for Mainoo in central midfield. Joao Neves has been scouted by United this season already and he’s getting better and better through his breakout year for Benfica.
Like Mainoo, Neves is an immaculately gifted footballer but he’s also capable of doing the dirty defensive work as his stats via FotMob showcase.
Neves has won on average nine duels per game this season which is the same as Onana, he’s also been dominant in tackles, winning 82.5% of his attempts. Eight recoveries per game also highlight his defensive excellence.
Neves is an all-rounder just like Mainoo and combined they could be the perfect midfield both in and out of possession. Neves is only 19 as well so the duo could easily be a partnership for the next 15 years – Xavi and Iniesta-esque.
An average game rating this year of 7.6 showcases that he’s already very consistent for his age, the prospect of Mainoo and Neves playing together is extremely exciting and would be a massive show of intent by Ineos.
Federico Redondo – Argentinos Juniors
A slightly cheaper option for Ineos could be Argentinian 21-year-old Federico Redondo who has been linked with United in recent months, along with Liverpool and Real Madrid according to TeamTalk.
A regular for Argentinos Juniors, he’s also a player packed with the qualities that United should be searching for the partner Mainoo. His stats – via FotMob – showcase this as he wins seven duels per 90 along with nine recoveries in Argentina.
In comparison to the two aforementioned names, Redondo would be a risk as he isn’t proven in Europe yet, but it’d be a smart move which could have tremendous upside.
Javi Guerra – Valencia
Midfielder number two on the list is Valencia maestro Javi Guerra who like Onana, is in his early 20s (20) which means he will be a long-term solution for United.
He was linked to United ahead of the January transfer window although ultimately, January wasn’t an active month for the Old Trafford side.
The young Spanish midfielder is currently one of Valencia’s standout players and has started 16 games this season with his standout display being during a 2-2 draw with Almeria where he scored and assisted. According to FotMob, he’s won 90 duels this season and 103 recoveries – both qualities which are required in a partner for Mainoo.
That being said, Guerra is probably the least likely option and the one which is least exciting of the four mentioned. Still an option though for the Reds who will weigh them all up.