Manchester United will be without Scott McTominay for around a month after he underwent groin surgery.
United struggled badly without him at Southampton on Sunday, with Nemanja Matic putting in a poor performance.
It’s not just that the Serbian lacks McTominay’s legs, it’s that he drops right back between the centre halves to get the ball, slowing everything down.
United have a real tactical problem when McTominay doesn’t play, and that is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to deal with in the weeks ahead.
This can be solved before the end of the transfer window. Manchester United must buy a new central midfielder now.
McTominay cannot play every minute of every game. On top of that, there remain doubts over whether he will develop into the truly elite player United need in the heart of midfield.
United’s lack of strength in depth in midfield was already exposed on Sunday.
Now, it’ll be exposed further with McTominay out for a period of weeks.
Solskjaer could play Donny van de Beek further back, but he hasn’t done that on a consistent basis so far in the Dutchman’s United career.
There are options out there
Saul of Atletico Madrid is available on loan. Ruben Neves is obtainable at the right price.
So is Yves Bissouma at Brighton, and United would have to pay around £40 million to get the deal done.
There really is no excuse for United not to get that done given how much the Glazers take out of the club.
But if United want to raise cash to do it, selling Jesse Lingard to West Ham would raise at least half of it.
This is the type of strength in depth United need, and the draw with Southampton highlighted that.
United were so much slower and predictable without McTominay.
Not having a top quality replacement to come in in his place really cost us and could do more damage unless United make a midfield signing before Tuesday.
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