Manchester United have moved one step closer to having a perfect midfield

What a difference a year makes.

Exactly 12 months ago today, Manchester United announced their second signing of the summer transfer window, confirming the arrival of Christian Eriksen. The Dane arrived at M16 on a free transfer after turning down the offer of a new contract at Brentford.

The Dane, who had joined the Bees on a short-term deal only months before, arrived at Old Trafford with a reputation for having been one of the Premier League’s best attacking midfielders, on and off, for the best part of a decade. He regularly pulled the strings in the No.10 position at Tottenham Hotspur, scoring goals and registering assists at a steady rate.

With that said, almost everyone expected him to provide competition and support for Bruno Fernandes in the No.10 position. But after Erik ten Hag deployed him as a false nine and then as a defensive midfielder in his first two games in charge, Eriksen found a home at No.8.

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He excelled as a deep-lying playmaker who orchestrated proceedings and had possession between both boxes. Moments before operating in that position for the first time, starring from deep in the 2-1 win over Liverpool last August, United unveiled their second midfield signing of the summer, parading Casemiro around Old Trafford following his arrival for £60 million from Real Madrid. .

Although the Brazilian was never United’s No.1 target in midfield last summer, with the club spending more than 100 days following Frenkie de Jong’s signing, he was the perfect alternative. He brought a world-class presence and a winning mentality to Old Trafford that had been missing for years.

Once he had got used to life in England and found his way into the team, it wasn’t long before he, along with Eriksen and Fernandes in the engine room, showed why he was what United had been missing for so long. The Reds had been in desperate need of adding a world-class defensive midfielder to their ranks for years, and Casemiro soon provided them with the defensive nous and devastating capabilities they lacked in midfield.

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