Jose Mourinho is determined to add a holding midfielder to his squad this summer to unleash last summer’s world-record signing Paul Pogba.
Tottenham Hotspur are refusing to entertain offers for Eric Dier unless Manchester United cough up £50 million, a fee that would make the former Sporting Lisbon midfielder the most expensive English player ever, surpassing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who joined from Liverpool in a £49 million deal.
Earlier this week, Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail claimed United are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl while Chelsea will only consider allowing fellow target Nemanja Matic leave once they seal a deal with Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Weigl, 21, had been closely linked with a move to Barcelona but a broken ankle in May ultimately knocked back the transfer. The German international will, therefore, be out of action until mid-September.
Many fans and pundits see Weigl as the same breed of midfielder as current United player Michael Carrick, who, aged 35, is coming to the end of his career and can no longer play as regularly or effectively as he could in years gone by. Weigl is an intelligent midfielder who drops back into defence and plays as a primary playmaker for the whole time — a role often compared to American Football’s quarterback.
From the youth academy of Bayern Munich’s closely rivals 1860 Munich, the hugely promising defensive midfielder joined Dortmund in the summer of 2015, and standing at 6ft 2in, he’s near enough the same physique as Carrick.
Weigl is blessed with a phenomenal passing range, the vision to identify and pick out teammates in advanced areas, and an understanding of how to dictate tempo in the middle of the park.
The long-term Manchester City target also resembles Barcelona mainstay Sergio Busquets in style and quickly became the jewel in Dortmund’s crown. There, he sits in front of the back four in a 4-1-4-1 formation carrying out defensive duties, consistently placing himself in the optimum area to thwart opposition attackers.
Last season, he played across 30 Bundesliga matches, averaging 65.2 passes per game and continued to show why many earmarked as a superstar in the making for Germany and beyond.
United have the luxury of knowing Weigl plays for Dortmund and not Bayern Munich. The Westfalenstadion outfit are renowned in Germany as a selling club and, for the foreseeable future, won’t be considered title contenders.
He may not be a typical defensive midfielder that Mourinho would sign but Carrick, despite playing into his latter years, had a significant influence on United last season, and a player of similar mould could operate as an ideal understudy.
Squad depth is essential to a side with objectives to challenge for silverware both domestically and in Europe. And, quality is another ultimate factor. If Mourinho is to improve on his first season as United manager, in which they won the EFL Cup and Europa League, the squad needs an upgrade.
Weigl would be the perfect bonus signing. Dortmund’s metronome has the potential to become one of the world’s best midfielders.