Transfer Rumours: 5 Best Holding Midfielders Set to Move This Summer
Here are the five best holding midfielders rumoured to be summer transfers.
The defensive midfielder is a pivotal part of the team, especially with the 4-2-3-1 being one of the most utilised formations in European football.
Without a strong holding midfielder, the structure of the team is flawed and will lead to defensive breakdowns, thus increasing the chances of conceding a goal.
Massimo Ambrosini, AC Milan, Age: 36
Transfer Rumour: Massimo Ambrosini's agent says talks with West Ham United have begun, as reported by CalcioMercato.it via ESPN.co.uk.
Player Profile: After 17 seasons with AC Milan, the club have decided not to renew his contract, meaning he's a free agent right now.
His tackling remains at an elite standard, having averaged 5.8 tackles in the UEFA Champions League. However, a player that tackles so frequently will always struggle with discipline.
He'll bring experience and professionalism.
James McCarthy, Wigan Athletic, Age: 22
Transfer Rumour: Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan is open to former manager Roberto Martínez raiding the club of its best talents, so long as Everton pay the "right amount of money," as reported by Daniel Jones at The Metro.
This means an impressive prospect in James McCarthy, who should be playing Premier League football, could move to the Toffees.
Player Profile: McCarthy averaged 57.6 passes per league game last season, completing 87.3 percent of his passes and showing how calm he is when in possession.
He won back the ball 4.6 times per league game, illustrating why he's a player with the potential to join a major club in several years' time.
So remember when Archie Knox said James McCarthy "didn't have the legs to play for Scotland..". That worked out well for us, eh?— Paul Hughes (@smallshoes62) May 29, 2013
A good night for underrated Irish players like Shane Long, James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) May 29, 2013
Jérémy Toulalan, Málaga, Age: 29
Transfer Rumour: According to L'Equipe via talkSPORT, Málaga's Jérémy Toulalan will choose Atlético Madrid over Arsenal.
Player Profile: Toulalan's going-for-broke approach to tackling puts him at risk for medium- and long-term injuries.
Three months ago, he fractured his toe, the worst of several nagging issues which limited him to only appearing in 50 percent of Málaga's La Liga games this season.
In his last three seasons, he's failed to start 30 league games or more.
When fit, he's one of the most prolific tacklers in Europe's top flight, evidenced in him leading Málaga in tackles and interceptions per game.
Should it be a surprise that Atléti have made a calculated gamble on Toulalan? No.
The club's management has been making sound transfer decisions in recent seasons.
Jeremy Toulalan on the verge of signing for Atletico Madrid for around 5m Euro. One of Pellegrini's best signings for Malaga. What a player.— Christian Machowski (@ChristianMcr) June 6, 2013
Maxime Gonalons, Lyon, Age: 24
Transfer Rumour: Former Arsenal player and current Lyon manager Rémi Garde is hoping that management won't sell Maxime Gonalons, according to L'Equipe via Sky Sports.
Last September, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas spoke of his delight when it came to the club's drastic cost-cutting.
"Wages plus depreciation means a saving of around €30 million year on year," Aulas told Fabien Perrin at ESPN FC. "We are not yet at the desired level, but it has worked well."
Player Profile: Gonalons is a firebrand of a midfielder, who's always on edge.
This has worked to his advantage, completing 138 tackles in Ligue 1. However, his foul-happy nature increasingly frustrates Garde.
In Gonalons' last five games, he received four yellow cards and a red card.
He's the type of player that will get sent off if Anthony Taylor or Mark Clattenburg are officiating.
Nemanja Matić, Benfica, Age: 25
Transfer Rumour: David Luiz will be included in a packaged deal to lure Nemanja Matić back to Chelsea, according to Nick Harris at HITC Sport.
Luiz has world-class potential as a box-to-box midfielder, not as a holding midfielder or centre-back, a position that he won't play under José Mourinho because the Brazilian represents everything the new Chelsea boss doesn't want from a centre-half.
Player Profile: Matić is an imposing presence in Benfica's midfield, using his 6'4" frame to his advantage and he's underrated when it comes to launching attacks.
With a chip on his shoulder, Matić has risen to the top after not making it at the Blues.
Chelsea aren't going to relinquish such a gifted (albeit inconsistent) player in Luiz, having already waited this long.
Why do you think Benfica signed Stefan Mitrović, Lazar Marković, Filip Duricić and Miralem Sulejmani?
So they can be guided by their compatriot Matić, an established first-teamer, which means he won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
Oh, and should Chelsea fork out a fortune for Matić, they better figure out how to bring his brother, Uros, along for the ride.
And congratulation to one of my favourite teams Benfica for reaching the finals! Nemanja Matic-Serbiiiiia !— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 15, 2013