Manchester United have been linked with promising Vitesse Arnhem youngster Marco van Ginkel, and the 20-year-old Dutchman may well possess the attributes required to address the perceived central midfield issues at Old Trafford.
The retiring Sir Alex Ferguson never acknowledged he had a problem in this department, citing the presence of Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher in his squad. However, out of these six players, only Michael Carrick has been able to consistently perform week in, week out to a high standard over the last few years. Scholes and Giggs have been stalwarts in the team, but their time on the pitch was carefully managed.
Of the others, Anderson has been perennially inconsistent, while Cleverley has at times flattered to deceive. Fletcher has been cruelly deprived of the prime of his career, when he had reached a point of being a mainstay in Ferguson’s side. Nick Powell has shown plenty of promise at Crewe and in United’s Under-21s, but was given little opportunity to impress in the first team in his first season at Old Trafford.
Van Ginkel is an exciting prospect who has come up through the ranks at Vitesse, and impressed during this summer’s European Under-21 Championships. He is very much a box-to-box midfielder, comfortable sitting deep and then surging forward to support his front men, reminiscent of a young Steven Gerrard. Now that the Netherlands’ involvement in Israel has ended, a decision must be made regarding his future, and there are claims that both United and Premier League rivals Chelsea are chasing the man capped once at senior international level.
Van Ginkel won the Dutch Talent of the Year award last season, which acknowledges the best of the country’s youth. He is technically very gifted, blessed with an excellent touch, two good feet and an eye for goal. His finishing is precise and his shot powerful, and he also possesses a quality passing range. He is an accomplished central midfielder for his age, and at over 6ft 1in has the frame to develop into a formidable proposition.
He is quick and strong already, but you feel at a club like United the Dutchman could enhance his physical attributes in unison with his footballing ability, as can be seen by the development of players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, and more recently, Danny Welbeck. He would be an ideal partner for Carrick, who marshals United’s midfield from deep, while van Ginkel would be afforded more of a license to roam. He would also provide defensive cover for the likes of Shinji Kagawa, who is expected to feature more prominently in the next campaign.
Central midfield has long been an issue of debate among United supporters, but van Ginkel could be the ideal player to plug the gap that many think exists.
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