Manchester United need a starting number 10
Manchester United and Tottenham both have strong interest in Everton attacker Ross Barkley. Jose Mourinho’s squad just happens to need him more. That’s why you should count on his squad outbidding Spurs for the young Englishman.
The Mirror are reporting that Mourinho’s club are contemplating a £35 million bid for the Everton star. It’s widely believed that Ronald Koeman would be willing to part with Barkley at that price. That could allow United to leapfrog Tottenham in the race for his services.
In all honesty, I’m not surprised by this news in the slightest. Tottenham’s interest in Barkley has always been a little awkward. After all, Mauricio Pochettino has one of the world’s brightest young stars playing behind the striker. The presence of Dele Alli in the Spurs squad makes fitting Barkley into the starting XI a little tricky.
That isn’t to say it couldn’t be done. Pochettino is quite happy to play three attacking midfielders who’d prefer to play in a central role. His current first choice trio of Christian Eriksen, Dele and Son Heung-Min would all prefer to play through the middle. Barkley would help Tottenham, but he isn’t a perfect positional fit.
Manchester United, in sharp contrast, are currently relying on the likes of Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata to fill their number ten role. I suppose that could have been an excellent pairing five or six seasons ago. Unfortunately for Mourinho, age has taken its toll on both stars. Rooney will likely need to find a new club this summer, while Mata just isn’t what United need in an every week starter.
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Barkley could immediately slot into Mourinho’s starting XI at Old Trafford no matter who serves as the club’s number one striker next season. He could combine nicely with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford or a potential new signing like Antoine Griezmann.
There are only two real issues with Barkley’s potential fit at United. First, Jose Mourinho isn’t exactly enthralled with helping young players reach their full potential. It’s easy to see him having the same issues with Barkley that plague Ronald Koeman.
Secondly, and perhaps more problematic, is the possibility that United will look for an even more talented player to fill the role. They’ve been frequently linked with every attacker imaginable this season. While I think Barkley is an excellent talent who’s certainly worth £35 million, United might choose to really break the bank. They could certainly opt to purchase a more accomplished number ten for a significantly higher price.
All in all, Ross Barkley would be a really solid purchase for Manchester United this summer. They need a number ten and that’s his best position. It all seems entirely too simple to work. Ed Woodward and company have a way of making these things harder than they really need to be.