Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admits midfield additions may be required in the summer

With Michael Carrick set to retire and Marouane Fellaini's contract expiring, United will need to add options in the middle of the park

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Tuesday 30 January 2018 17:11
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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will need to strengthen his midfield in the summer
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will need to strengthen his midfield in the summer

Jose Mourinho believes it will be difficult for Manchester United to improve upon their options in attack this summer, though he is prepared to spend money in midfield.

Alexis Sanchez’s high-profile arrival from Arsenal last week has left the United manager happy with the attacking depth at his disposal.

The 29-year-old Chilean will provide competition for the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard in attacking midfield positions, but will also cover lone striker and £75m summer signing Romelu Lukaku.

Mourinho has fewer long-term alternatives to call upon in central midfield. Michael Carrick willl retire and join United’s coaching staff at the end of the season while Marouane Fellaini’s contract is set to expire this summer.

United still hope to agreed renewed terms with the 30-year-old Fellaini but on Monday, Mourinho admitted that once the transfer window reopens in June, his midfield depth will require some attention.

“I think in attack it’s difficult for us to improve,” he said. “Where are we going to get a better combination of players than we have? We cannot buy [Lionel] Messi, we cannot buy Cristiano [Ronaldo] – these are the best players of the last decade.

“Where can we get better players than [Juan] Mata, Martial, Lingard, Rashford, Alexis, Lukaku? In attack we have an amazing group of players.

“In midfield Michael Carrick will not be No 16, he will have ‘MC’ on his shirt next season, so we lose a player,” the United manager added.

“It’s there in midfield where we need to – I’m not saying improve – but we need to get a player to compensate the situation of Michael. If Marouane leaves, yes we have two gaps there, so let’s see what happens.”

Mourinho said on Monday that both he, the United board and Fellaini himself want the player to stay at Old Trafford, but they are yet to reach a contractual agreement.

Fellaini’s camp are understood to have requested a salary of around £125,000-a-week in negotiations.

“Again, in relation to Marouane the good thing is that he would like to stay with us and we would like him to stay with us,” Mourinho added.

“To sign a contract a person must be happy. Let’s see if we can make him happy.”

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