Manchester United will be hoping to explore the transfer market this summer as they seek to close the gap on the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal. We caught up with John Barnes to discuss the future of Chelsea midfielder Matteo Kovacic who has been linked with a move to both Manchester United and City. Barnes also shared his thoughts on the form of defender Aaron Wan Bisakka.
Manchester United need Kovacic signing more than city rivals
The midfield area of pitch is a department which Manchester United have failed to address for a number of years. Whilst Casemiro has been a success this season, his suspension as well as the injury sustained by Christian Eriksen has left United short on depth and quality. The likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Scott McTominay and Fred have all flattered to deceive.
Matteo Kovacic has a year left on his contract and is reportedly set to leave Chelsea with Bayern, CIty and Manchester United all interested. Barnes believes Kovacic’s ability on the ball and adaptability positionally would be of benefit to both Manchester United and Manchester City. However, Barnes claims United need Kovacic more than Manchester City do.
“He could fit into any of those clubs because he’s a fantastic player who is good on the ball, he works hard as a number 6 or a number 8 so he’s adaptable.”
“He reminds me a bit of Ilkay Gundogan so he could fit in at Manchester City and United.”
“United will need him more than Man CIty as they need to strengthen in midfield but would rather go to City and compete at the highest level.”
Wan Bissaka is Manchester United’s best defender
Aaron Wan-Bisakka found himself ostracised from the Manchester United starting 11 for much of last season and the first half of this season. Manager Erik ten Hag is known to prefer player who are comfortable with the ball at their feet and it was deemed that Wan Bisakka didn’t fit hte mould. However, he has re-established himself as the number one right back and Barnes claims he’s the clubs best defender.
“Well, Aaron Wan-Bisakka is their best defender. Maybe he isn’t amazing on the ball like the other players but he is there to defend first and foremost.”
“Erik ten Hag likes his aggression and his defensive qualities. Not many players are going easily past him.”
“Not every team can play like Man City with predominantly good footballers. A lot of teams need a player like him. He is comfortable enough with the ball but his defensive capabilities are his strengths.”
Wan Bisakka’s prowess helps his fellow defenders
Barnes claims that the likes of captain Harry Maguire and Argentinian World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez aren’t great individual defenders when it comes to 1vs1 situations and so the need of a defender with the skill set of Wan Bisakka becomes necessary to help his fellow defenders.
“He has been rewarded for that and he was exactly what Man United needed. When you’re conceding a lot of goals and doesn´t have the protection on the midfield you need, then you need very good individual defenders.”
“When I’m looking at Maguire or Martinez I wouldn´t necessarily say that they are the best individual defenders, so they need players around them that are very good defenders, so Man United in that way can defend well as a team, which would help their centre halves.”