The defensive midfield role has become a problem for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho thanks to an array of round pegs for the square hole and a distrust of the veteran anchormen on the books.
On the back of a three-game losing streak the latest rumour linking one of the Premier League’s most fashionable tempo setters to United is not in the least bit baffling.
Former Red Devil and current Leicester ace Danny Drinkwater is the solution the papers are offering to this quandary, with The Sun implying a £30m bid will be launched in January.
Although he often performs box-to-box duties for the English champions, Drinkwater is a very well disciplined operator and would be seen as a sizeable improvement to what’s at Old Trafford already, judging by the way Mourinho has constantly tinkered with his midfield early in his tenure.
Having bizarrely demoted 32-year-old Bastian Schweinsteiger to train with the U21s upon arrival, the Portuguese manager has also overlooked another highly decorated back-four screener.
Michael Carrick, 35, hasn’t been seen on the pitch since the Community Shield, despite making the last two matchday squads.
This leaves a choice between world-record signing Paul Pogba, his countryman Morgan Schneiderlin and long-time target of fan disdain, Marouane Fellaini, while Ander Herrera is also on the fringes.
Perhaps understandably, the Spaniard is viewed as a more offensive weapon.
The latest Premier League arrangement has seen Fellaini in tandem with Pogba as United have succumbed to successive defeats, yet neither is an orthodox defensive midfielder and it’s plain to see the latter’s attacking wings are being clipped as part of a deep-lying duo.
Schneiderlin’s card also appears to be marked by Mourinho, as the former Southampton man has played just five minutes of top-flight football thus far, placing his own strangely underwhelming stint at Old Trafford in jeopardy.
If Drinkwater can be persuaded to follow Pogba’s lead and return to the club that let him go, then Schneiderlin and Fellaini look most vulnerable.
It would be no surprise to see the pair auctioned off, alongside Schweinsteiger in January as part of a central midfield purge to free up funds for the England international’s potential arrival, while Carrick is left to drift to the end of his contract, extended by a year in March.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.