Merson slams McFred but admits they both play as ‘insurance policy’ for United’s poor defence

Date published: Saturday 13th August 2022 2:14 - Jason Soutar

Paul Merson

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson believes Scott McTominay and Fred are “not good enough” to play together for Manchester United.

The Red Devils opened their Premier League campaign with a 2-1 defeat against Brighton at Old Trafford last weekend.

This defeat emphasised their need for more signings in the transfer market, in particular a new midfielder.

They have been heavily linked with Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong all summer but the player does not want to leave the La Liga club.

McTominay and Fred have received plenty of criticism in recent years and United’s midfield can definitely be seen as a cause for concern.

Speaking about United and their recent struggles, Merson said the midfield duo aren’t “good enough” to play together, but does think one of them can start for Erik ten Hag if they play next to a less defensive-minded midfielder.

“Whoever plays up front you’re only as good as the people providing you the ball,” he said on Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday.

“At the moment Man United haven’t got people there, they’re not dominating the midfield. McTominay and Fred, they’re not good enough to play for Man United as a pair. You’d probably have one of them in there with someone else.

“They have to play them two because at the back they’re not very good. They need some insurance policy, so they have two holding midfield players. They’ve got no legs in the team. I’m not saying they’re not quick, but they’re not willing to run without the ball.

“You look at Liverpool, their front three when they’re at their best, [Sadio] Mane, [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino, they run without the ball, they move even without the ball. This team all want the ball.

“It’s not a team, it’s all individuals [at United].”

United are still working on a deal to sign De Jong and Spanish newspaper Sport have reported that the Red Devils are growing in confidence they will convince the Dutch playmaker to join the club.

Another midfield target is Adrien Rabiot. United have reportedly agreed a fee in the region of £15million with Juventus to sign the Frenchman.

Rabiot’s agent – who happens to be his mother – asked the Premier League club to pay her son a weekly wage ‘in excess’ of the €7m he earns in Turin.

With a year left on his deal, the midfielder is guaranteed this amount should he decide to stay at his current club.

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