Over the last couple of months we have had a quite a few articles on our website to do with Manchester United’s midfield. In particular the one problem area that our writers have been on focusing on is the team’s lack of strength in the heart of midfield.
@DHick92 discussed how United need a ball-winning midfielder in the wake of the Manchester Derby that we would rather not discuss.
The other day I was reading an article by one of our contributors @CheGiaevara on The Prawn Sandwhich Brigade, which looks at a 25 players who United could go out and sign to significantly improve our midfield.
In terms of central midfield and ball-winners, the following midfielders who are all capable of playing a defensive minded ball-winning position in the midfield were listed as possible targets for United:
Sven Bender (Borrussia Dortmund)
Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma)
Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United)
Marouane Felliani (Everton)
Javi Garcia (Benfica)
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
Javi Martinez (Athletico Bilbao)
Yann M’Vila (Rennes)
Jack Rodwell (Everton)
Chieck Tiote (Newcastle United)
Arturo Vidal (Juventus)
Now whilst that’s a great list of possible targets for United, there was one player who I felt was missing from that list who has stood out over the last 5-6 years as one of the best (yet underrated) midfielder’s in Europe, who would certainly boost any top side in Europe.
There may be a couple more names who you feel should have been on that list, but the one who stood out for me was Barcelona’s Seydou Keita who despite having to be behind Spanish trio Xaxi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets has became one of Pep Guardiola’s side’s most important squad members.
The powerful Mali international has worked hard to become the player that he is today and after impressing in France for Lens was snapped up by Sevilla. Ketia only spent a year in Andalucia before arriving at the Nou Camp as one of Guardiola’s first signings when the legendary Spanish midfielder took charge of Barca after Frank Rijkaard’s departure.
Despite not being an automatic first-choice for Barca, he has averages around 49 appearances a season and is a versatile player who but for Xavi and Iniesta would probably be a first-choice in midfield for Guardiola. Last season Keita made more appearances than any other outfield player for Barca and aged 31, is probably right now in the prime of his career.
Recently the Malian spoke to Sky Sports confirming Liverpool’s reported interest in him:
"Liverpool is a great club, it is fantastic to hear that they are interested in me, but you know how I feel about Barcelona.
'However we are in football and nothing is an absolute, so let’s wait until the end of the season.
'I want to play more games than last season, playing regularly in a winning team is very good for the player, but the Premier League is very attractive and exciting for any player.
'My contract runs untill 2014, at the end of the season we will see."
If I was Sir Alex Ferguson and the chance to sign Keita came up, then I would go all-out to sign him. The facts are that if he wants to be part of winning team, who will constantly be challenging on all fronts, then United would be another step in his career and another challenge for him.
He would bring power, strength and experience to our midfield. His football over the last couple of years has been outstanding and he is not a player who is scared of the big occasion. There is nothing wrong with signing someone in their 30’s and he still has alot to offer a team, which cannot sadly be said for Michael Carrick and Anderson, based on current form can it?
Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87