Nemanja Matic has been a vital player for Manchester United since joining the club in the summer of 2017. He became an instant hit in his debut season at Old Trafford after signing from Chelsea for a huge €44.7 million. He started nearly every match for former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and led the Red Devils to a second-place finish in the 2017-18 Premier League season.
However, the Serbian has been on a downward spiral in recent times. Critics have constantly slammed him for his declining performances. He lacks discipline and has been yellow-carded 4 times in his last 5 matches. Present Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even took him off in the 80th minute against Arsenal last weekend, following his disappointing display.
Matic is already 30 years old, and United will be forced to replace him sooner or later. Now let's take a look at 3 potential replacements for the Serbian at Old Trafford.
#1 Ruben Neves
Ruben Neves has been the key for Wolverhampton Wanderers' success in the Premier League this season. The Portuguese has become such a revelation for the Wolves that United have been keeping tabs on him.
A complete midfielder, the 22-year-old does an excellent job in winning the ball in midfield as well as significantly contributing to his team’s productivity. This season Ruben has amassed 2.2 tackles and 2.3 intercepts in the league on an average, and both those stats are better than Matic's.
He will be an instant upgrade for the Serbian if United manage to snatch him. His price stands at eye-watering £100 million but the Red Devils are never afraid to splash the cash for the right player.
#2 Tanguy Ndombele
Tanguy Ndombele has been one of the most wanted men this season. He has consistently performed at high standards for Olympique Lyon and has helped his side to reach the Round of 16 of the Champions League, where the French team will play Barcelona in the second leg tonight; the first leg ended in a goalless draw.
He impressed against Manchester City in the group stages and became one of the best performers for Lyon in the first leg against Barcelona. The Frenchman is known for his agility and productivity, and besides having the ability to dictate the midfield, Ndombele is also sound defensively.
The Frenchman has delivered an average of 2.05 tackles and 0.95 intercepts combined in Champions and the Ligue 1 this season. His defensive stats are pretty much similar to Matic's. Manchester United could have endless creativity in midfield by pairing Ndombele with fellow Frenchman Paul Pogba.
#3 Abdoulaye Doucoure
Abdoulaye Doucoure has made a name for himself since he became a vital player for Watford last season. He had amassed 7 goals, never got benched, and started 37 matches for his team in the 2017/18 season. This season too he has been one of Watford’s best players and has started nearly every game for Javi Gracia.
A report states that French giants Paris Saint-Germain are interested in securing his signature, owing to his impressive displays in recent seasons. Doucoure is known for his productivity and solid defensive displays. He has registered an average of 2.1 tackles and 0.9 interceptions in the Premier League this season.
He is just 26 years old and could fill Matic’s boot for at least 5 years if United manage to sign him next summer.Published 13 Mar 2019, 14:12 IST