Paul Merson believes Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag should change his system in order to get the best out of club captain Harry Maguire.
It has been a difficult 12 months for United, who were full of optimism this time last year after the summer arrivals of Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho.
2021/22 was far from a successful campaign, however.
The Red Devils finished sixth in the league after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and replacing him with Ralf Rangnick. They also finished the season without a trophy for the fifth year in a row.And United’s 22/23 has started in a similarly dismal fashion, losing their opening Premier League match against Brighton at Old Trafford.
Not to fear, Ten Hag, for Paul Merson has the solution to all of your problems.
The former Arsenal midfielder believes the Dutch manager should change his system to get the best out of Maguire, who has struggled at Old Trafford since becoming the most expensive defender in football.
Unfortunately, United have apparently missed a huge opportunity by letting Conor Coady join Everton on a season-long loan.
Coady made his Everton debut on Saturday after making the surprise move from Wolves and is a specialist in playing in a back-three, which is how Merson believes United should be playing.
“They should’ve been going for Conor Coady,” Merson said (quotes via Metro). “They need to go to three at the back. Maguire can’t run so you need to play a five at the back.
“Play him in a three and he’s a very good player, he comes out with the ball he can pass it.
“When he plays in a four he can’t go and engage because if he gets in a one-on-one he’s going to struggle.
“Put Coady in there and he’s an out-and-out sweeper then you don’t have to play McTominay and Fred in the team because you’ve got your insurance.”
It has been an interesting summer transfer window for United, who surprisingly made a bid for ex-Stoke City forward Marko Arnautovic.
They have also been pursuing a number of players who appear to hold no interest in moving to Old Trafford, such as Frenkie de Jong.
“It’s mind-blowing,” added Merson. “It’s horrible. Nobody wants to go to Manchester United.
“They’re main enemies are Liverpool and they’re much better than them. Then they’ve got the team next door who are their next biggest game and are the best team about.
“Footballers aren’t silly, everyone pays money now. It’s not like Man Utd are the only big payers.
“I like Arnautovic but they’re going for players at £7million.”