It’s the second week of April, and Ryan Giggs has started four of Manchester United’s last eight matches in the centre of midfield—a run that has included Monday’s derby loss to Manchester City and the second leg of the Red Devils’ Champions League appointment with Real Madrid.
This is not ideal.
Yes, Giggs is a United legend and even at 39 has more to offer the club with which he has won 12 titles, four FA Cups and a pair of Champions League crowns. But by no means should his contributions be of the game in, game out variety.
And that he is being picked for consistent starts in the centre of the park at the most important time of the season would seem to suggest United have a very serious problem on their hands—a lack of ability at the heart of midfield that is only a Michael Carrick injury away from becoming a disaster.
Thankfully for them, United have the title all but sewn up with seven matches to play, but what about next season?
Surely Sir Alex Ferguson won’t be anticipating another campaign where Giggs is a preferred option alongside Carrick. But with Paul Scholes’ career winding down and Darren Fletcher’s health concerns still unresolved—never mind the troublingly inconsistent performances of Anderson and Tom Cleverley—the United boss would seem to have little choice.
That is, unless he does some retooling in the summer.
A midfield makeover should be Ferguson’s top priority in July and August, and the next few slides will reveal some players who could make his problem go away ahead of next season.