The Manchester United fans in the Transfer Tavern are looking forward to a post-Carrick era at Old Trafford, and they are hoping that Jose Mourinho will make a wise choice in the transfer market when he eventually signs a replacement for the 36-year-old.
Michael Carrick has been a servant to The Red Devils during his near-twelve year stint with the club, and his career will certainly live long in the memory of the United supporters who hold him in high-regard. Following his retirement, United will need to secure the services of a player who can fill the void he will leave in defensive midfield, and according to recent reports from The Manchester Evening News, Mourinho has already drawn up a shortlist of 6 players who could replace Carrick this summer.
The names mentioned in the report include Arturo Vidal, Jorginho and Marco Verratti. All of the names mentioned are worthy candidates, but the fact Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl is not on Mourinho’s shortlist is rather perplexing.
Since signing for Dortmund from 1860 Munich in July 2015, Weigl (valued at £27 million by Transfermarkt) has slowly established himself as a first-team regular for the club and become an integral part of the 4-1-4-1 system employed by Peter Stoger. At just 22-years-old, Weigl is certainly a player who has plenty of improving left to do, but he is already demonstrating a level of quality which certainly wouldn’t go amiss at Old Trafford.
Weigl’s style of play is synonymous with that of Carrick, as he prefers to influence the game from deep and provide an intelligent shield between defence and midfield. The balance and solidity Weigl could provide is a valuable tool that is currently missing from United’s midfield, and although the other candidates to replace Carrick have plenty of reason to justify a transfer, Weigl’s similarity to Carrick and potential to improve should swing the interest in his favour.
Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich is arguably the most established and experienced candidate on the supposed shortlist, but the fact he is 30-years-old should deter Mourinho’s interest. After watching Manchester City dominate so convincingly this season, United need to look at the long-term future when making transfer decisions, so the signing of a young player such as Weigl who has the potential to improve should be prioritised over a move for Vidal who is moving towards the end of his peak.