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Football News: Should Manchester United only scout Players at Clubs with a similar style of play?

Should Manchester United only scout Players at Clubs with a similar style of play?
Image from: freelargeimages.com

Several years ago when Klopp was at Broussia Dortmund the rest of the world marvelled at the great young players he had managed to coach into world class stars.

The best teams in the world came in and poached the cream of the crop. Gotze, Kagawa, Sahin, Hummels, Lewandowski, Gundogan all left Dortmund in the years that followed moving to top clubs around the world.

Yet there was very mixed success from those that moved. Lewandowski and Gundogan are probably the only ones you could say were true successes. Hummels did fine at Bayern but he didn't set the world alight. Good, but underwhelming in the end. Gotze, Sahin and Kagawa flopped and have never looked as good again.

That's the thing about creating a great team that is greater than the sum of its parts. When those parts (players) move on they often don't look as good individually as they did as part of the collective.

Maybe we are seeing something similar with Ajax under Erik Ten Hag currently. A smaller side with a much smaller budget than most of Europe's top clubs, punching above their weight playing great football.

We have seen Donny, Ziyech, Frankie De Jong, De Ligt and Sergino Dest all leave to join top clubs around Europe, with none of them looking as impressive for their new clubs as they did for Ajax.

Is it a case of another top class manager being able to make a side greater than the sum of its parts. With those individual players not being able to replicate the same sort of form outside of that collective?

It's something to consider when looking to sign players. Their individual statistics are not created individually but as part of a collective. If we see a player doing well in a very different set up to how we play the reality is they probably won't be able to replicate that form in our system.

That I think is a big reason for the billion pounds Manchester United have seemingly wasted, signing players who play for teams with very different set up to ours.

First, we need to decide how the team is going to play; are we a possession side, are we a pressing side, what are we?

Then scout the best players who play for clubs with a similar style. That way those players are more likely to be able to adapt.

Sadly, while we have a good squad on paper, I don't think there is enough cohesiveness amongst our players best suited playing styles for them to all work together.

We often look like a side of individuals because we have a group of players who all play best in very different set ups and systems.

Bruno and Donny for example play in a similar area of the pitch and on paper have a similar job. Create and score goals in the final third.

Yet they have polar opposite styles and approaches to do that. Bruno plays high risk, high reward passes very quickly. While Donny's approach is slower, more methodical, and less risky.

Both can be very successful in the right system, but both would struggle in the wrong set up. As we are seeing with Donny currently. Likewise Bruno would struggle in a possession oriented team that looks to play in a more regimented approach.

Moving forward we need to pick that style (with Rangnick it looks like a more pressing approach is the chosen style), work out which players can not just adapt but thrive in this new style then look to sign players who are most likely to adapt and fit in with this new approach.

Declan Rice for example has been the primary CDM target apparently for a while. Yet how would he adapt to a high pressing style? That isn't what he is used to at West Ham, he could well adapt, but with no evidence that he could, is he a sensible target, especially considering how much he would cost?

Should we sanction a deal worth 60-70m in transfer fee, plus tens of millions in agents fees and wages for a player who has never proven himself to be able to play in the style we would want?

That's not so say he couldn't, he probably could. But do you commit to spending a 100m+ on him when there are others who have proven very successful in the style that we want to play available for less than half the cost?

Written by Shappy December 20 2021 09:48:30


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