Ti­mothy could solve United’s cen­tral is­sues

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By RICHARD FAY

UNITED face a dilemma as they pre­pare for the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow.

A few months ago any sup­porter would have pin­pointed the Reds’ des­per­ate need for mid­field re­in­force­ment, but af­ter a troubled start to the sea­son pri­or­ity has shifted to a new at­tack­ing ad­di­tion.

The fact United have cre­ated more chances in the Pre­mier League than Le­ices­ter have this sea­son per­haps in­di­cates the mid­field is not as big an is­sue as the at­tack, but Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer now has a huge de­ci­sion to make.

The sum­mer sign­ings have all been hugely suc­cess­ful, but the fact it took the club so long to con­clude the deals in­di­cates that business could once again be at a min­i­mum when the win­ter win­dow opens.

If only one player could be added to the squad then the sen­si­ble op­tion would surely be to add a new striker, and with the im­mi­nent re­turn of Paul Pogba there might be less need for mid­field cre­ativ­ity.

How­ever, even with the World Cup win­ner’s re­turn, United re­main vul­ner­a­ble in de­fen­sive mid­field and with Ne­manja Matic near­ing the end of his con­tract

Sol­sk­jaer has an­other prob­lem to solve.

In an ideal world United would add both a mid­fielder and striker once the trans­fer mar­ket re-opens, but there might al­ready be a solution at the club in the shape of Ti­mothy Fosu-Men­sah.

Signed as a de­fen­sive mid­fielder from his time at Ajax, in­jury has se­verely ham­pered the progress of the Dutch young­ster who is yet to ful­fil his po­ten­tial al­most four years on from his United de­but.

The then 18-year-old made ten ap­pear­ances un­der the guid­ance of Louis van Gaal, with two of those starts com­ing in the quar­ter­fi­nal and semi-fi­nal of United’s suc­cess­ful FA Cup cam­paign.

Since then Fosu-Men­sah has made just one more Pre­mier League start for United and af­ter a dread­ful loan-spell with Ful­ham, his con­fi­dence has taken an almighty knock.

Yet it is tes­ta­ment to the Dutch young­ster that he has al­most over­come a se­ri­ous knee in­jury and given him­self a fight­ing chance of sal­vaging such a promis­ing ca­reer.

With just over six months re­main­ing on his United con­tract the 21-year-old is quickly run­ning out of time to prove him­self wor­thy of a new deal, but in Sol­sk­jaer he has a man­ager who will give him a chance.

Progress in the Europa League and Carabao Cup could give Fosu-Men­sah the per­fect plat­form to com­plete his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and in turn his long-awaited re­turn as a de­fen­sive mid­fielder could hold the solution to solv­ing United’s lat­est trans­fer prob­lem.

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