Manchester United are not stepping back following failed discussions to sign Tottenham’s Eric Dier and Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic, as the Red Devils are now eyeing Borussia Dortmund ace, Julian Weigl. Michael Carrick isn’t getting any younger, so finding a proper replacement for the English midfielder is a must for Jose Mourinho. According to Daily Mail, Julian Weigl has been identified as the top midfield priority after failing to land their respective Premier League transfer targets.
Weigl is termed as one of Germany’s biggest midfield asset for the coming years. At just 21 years of age, Weigl leads the Dortmund midfield by example. Currently out with a broken ankle till October, Weigl is not the only Dortmund player attracting interest from Manchester United this summer. Sokratis, Ousmane Dembele and Marc Bartra have all been linked with the Red Devils this summer. However, Julian Weigl may perhaps be the biggest of them all. So what is it which makes him so special for his club and country?
Julian Weigl is basically the Sergio Busquets of Borussia Dortmund. He runs the midfield behind the scenes, by calibrating passes, building up from the back and switching the lanes. He is an exceptional passer of the ball, having a passing accuracy of 91% and 89% in his first two seasons with Dortmund. He has completed the second most passes in the Dortmund squad this season(1,966). A great thing about the young German International is that he is someone who always wants to improve his game at every minute. When Ilkay Gundogan left the Signal Iduna Park, many predicted that Weigl’s dominance may come to an end due to lack of support from a number eight but he wasn’t to be bogged down. Weigl was still excellent for BVB in the middle of the pitch despite no one really being able to successfully play down the number eight role.
At just 21 years of age, Weigl’s positional awareness is well beyond the years. For the very reason, Thomas Tuchel brought him in from 1860 Munich for just three and a half million euros. Weigl excels in the possession based gameplay. Given his calm and composed figure, he rarely loses the ball or makes a bad pass. His defensive awareness is also remarkable and he had managed 68 interceptions last season, more than two per game. Overall, Julian Weigl is the complete package for a team who loves to play the positional game such as Borussia Dortmund and Germany, hence his success with both the teams is so overwhelming.
Even though Weigl does a very good job of balancing the flow of the game, he lacks a lot of punch in the defensive department. He really needs to improve on his physicality given his rather slim figure, and his tackles also need to be more strong and accurate if he wants to thrive in any given conditions. Weigl also isn’t that productive in the offensive department given he only scored his first professional goal in his career against Sporting Lisbon of Portugal last season. He rarely enters the 18-yard box in order to sneak in a goal or two, which prevents him from being a quality all-round midfielder.
Weigl’s CV is strong enough to offer him a place in the Manchester United starting lineup. He and Pogba could make a world of difference to the United defence, with Weigl keeping the midfield in shape, letting Paul Pogba dominate the opposition with his physicality and expertise. Manchester United won’t have to worry about finding a Michael Carrick replacement if they manage to sign this highly talented midfielder.
There will be a lot of skepticism over his credentials to thrive under a manager who prefers the exact opposite of the positional football. So we can’t really tell if he will succeed under the new conditions he’d have to face. Raising a question over the move, whilst suggesting a move to Barcelona or rivals Manchester City could be a better move for the German midfielder.
[All stats taken from Squawka]
Anas Ali Molla
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