Sofyan Amrabat, Ryan Gravenberch and seven midfield options for Man Utd as Erik ten Hag looks to solve his biggest problem

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The Red Devils have made a lacklustre start to the new Premier League campaign and urgently need to find a solution to their struggles in midfield

Another week, another messy performance from Manchester United. After being played off the park but somehow coming away with a 1-0 win over Wolves, Erik ten Hag's side got what they deserved as they were beaten 2-0 by Tottenham. The performance was a slight improvement on the first match and the manager cursed his team's inability to convert their early chances and score the first goal.

However, it was not nearly good enough and United are in a remarkably similar position to where they were at the same stage of last season after being beaten by Brighton and hammered 4-0 by Brentford.

Back then, the club used their dreadful start as a motivation to go back into the transfer market and sign a proven, world-class midfielder in Casemiro, before adding Antony on transfer deadline day. And despite spending more than £165 million ($210m) this summer, it is clear United still need to boost their squad, particularly in midfield.

Casemiro, one of United's best players last season, has looked dangerously isolated in the midfield three, getting little support from new arrival Mason Mount or captain Bruno Fernandes. However, it seems that Ten Hag is unwilling to trust Scott McTominay from the start while Christian Eriksen does not have the stamina to last entire matches.

United have blown a large part of their transfer budget already, and the Premier League's Profitability and Sustainability rules prevent them from committing to another big-money signing. As such, GOAL takes a look at how Ten Hag can fix his team's midfield struggles and get the Red Devils back on the path to victory without breaking the bank...

  1. Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina)

    Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina)

    Sofyan Amrabat is the player United would like to sign the most and they have been linked with the Morocco midfielder since the start of the summer. Amrabat showcased his passing range and ability to dribble his way out of pressure during the 2022 World Cup and would undoubtedly raise the standards in United's midfield.

    The Red Devils are still yet to put in a bid for the 27-year-old as they are teetering on the edge of their spending limit, but if they can sell Anthony Martial or Donny van de Beek, it would free up some money to put towards the deal.

    They also have the advantage that Amrabat is heading into the final year of his contract with Fiorentina and is pushing for a move. He did not play in any pre-season games and was an unused substitute in La Viola's 4-1 win at Genoa in their first game of the Serie A campaign.

  2. Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich)

    Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich)

    Ryan Gravenberch is well known to Ten Hag, who tends to favour signing players he has previously worked with, such as Antony, Andre Onana and Lisandro Martinez. Gravenberch grew up at Ajax's academy and was blooded in the first team by Ten Hag when he was only 16 years old.

    He was a crucial part of Ajax's last two Eredivisie title wins under Ten Hag, scoring five goals and contributing 10 assists across both seasons. Bayern Munich snapped him up for €19m ($20m) last summer, but the move has been a huge disappointment. Gravenberch started only three Bundesliga matches last season and is yet to make an appearance for Thomas Tuchel's side in the current campaign.

    Liverpool are also interested in Gravenberch, but the presence of Ten Hag could be a deciding factor for the 21-year-old.

  3. Amadou Onana (Everton)
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    Amadou Onana (Everton)

    Amdaou Onana is an energetic and combative midfielder who could provide more support to Casemiro and prevent United from getting overrun in the middle of the park as they did against Wolves and Spurs. And he already has one season in the Premier League under his belt with Everton.

    The Belgium international might just be out of United's reach, however. He cost Everton £33m in 2022 and the Toffees will demand around £45m to part with the 22-year-old, especially after making a terrible start to the season, losing at home to Fulham then getting thrashed 4-0 at Aston Villa.

  4. Ibrahim Sangare (PSV)

    Ibrahim Sangare (PSV)

    Ibrahim Sangare is another player that Ten Hag will be well aware of. The Ivory Coast international has risen to prominence in the last two years as one of the most important players for PSV, who finished second in the Dutch top-flight last season and won the domestic cup.

    Sangare was named the best holding midfielder in the Eredivisie in the 2021-22 season, ranking first in the league for tackles won, first for duels won, second for ball recoveries, and third for interceptions. The 25-year-old is valued at over £30m and Liverpool have already expressed an interest in signing him, as have Bayern Munich.

  5. Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)
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    Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)

    Marco Verratti would be a top-class addition for United and he is finally set to depart Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions continue to overhaul their squad after parting with Lionel Messi and Neymar.

    Verratti could have a similar short-term impact to Casemiro given his experience and quality, although he is not a long-term option due to his age and his injury record. Saudi Pro League clubs Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal have expressed their interest in Verratti and United would struggle to compete with their salary offers. However, the clubs have reportedly cooled their interest in the midfielder, and if Verratti wants to continue competing in the Champions League, United could be his best bet.

  6. Mats Wieffer (Feyenoord)

    Mats Wieffer (Feyenoord)

    Mats Wieffer is a rising star in Dutch football. He was a key player in Feyenoord's Eredivisie title win last season and his exploits saw him called into the Netherlands team.

    The 23-year-old is a confident dribbler and passer and loves to get involved in winning the ball back, be it making crunching tackles or tactical fouls. He would be a very cheap option for United and would only cost in the region of £15m ($19m).

  7. Or they could wait for Kobbie Mainoo
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    Or they could wait for Kobbie Mainoo

    While United are desperate for big-money signing Rasmus Hojlund to get fit as soon as possible to lead their flailing attack, there is another injured player they could really do with getting back.

    Kobbie Mainoo was one of the breakout stars of the club's pre-season tour of the United States and he was expected to have a big campaign after making a smattering of appearances last season. However, a freak ankle injury suffered at the start of the friendly against Real Madrid derailed his progress.

    Mainoo, 18, missed the start of the campaign and is not expected to return to action until late September. He is inexperienced but he is a gifted and physical midfielder who Ten Hag rates very highly. He could give the team more balance and cover for Casemiro when the Brazilian gets forward.