When assessing the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich in recent seasons, one of the biggest things that they have in common is the variety of central midfield options at their disposal.
Barca had so many that they were shoe-horned into defence, wide positions or even into attack.
Bayern too have all the bases covered to suit any situation, from midfield sitter, to energetic presser, to box-to-box options, to the dependable passer, to chief creator, to talented dribbler.
When comparing Manchester United, they are potentially as many as three central midfielders short of a full deck.
In recent seasons Paul Scholes has retired, Darren Fletcher has been battling serious illness, Owen Hargreaves has left, Anderson has not developed as expected and Paul Pogba was strangely allowed to head to Juventus.
New arrivals have been in short supply in this time, especially as Shinji Kagawa is not a natural as a true central midfielder. Tom Cleverley’s emergence from the youth set-up is the only real update.
This has resulted in Man Utd doing the opposite of other big clubs in the sense of playing people out of position in central midfield.
Phil Jones has been used fairly regularly, despite lacking some technical ability, Ryan Giggs has been converted and Wayne Rooney has even had a turn.
This can’t go on if Man Utd are to compete for major trophies, the Champions League especially, and although David Moyes seems to have prioritised the position, it has still been slow progress in terms of transfer dealings.
From looking nailed on to sign Thiago Alcantara, he slipped through their fingers to join Bayern and it still seems optimistic to believe they can tempt Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.
Roberto Martinez is one manager that has counted on those he knows best this season, taking Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles to Everton after having the trio in his squad at Wigan in the last campaign.
Moyes could do the same with Marouane Fellaini, who has the physicality that the Man Utd midfield seems to be lacking and the ability to play in any of the three midfield roles, with this versatility especially valuable in a squad short of viable options.
It is 13/8 that Fellaini is a Man Utd player by the end of the summer transfer window, with Arsenal the favourites in the market on where he will be on September 1st at 11/8.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.