There is no doubt about two things: firstly that Marco Reus is an excellent player who would improve most teams on the planet, secondly that Manchester United fans would be delighted to see him arrive at Old Trafford. However, in spite of these two facts, the German should not be top of the shopping list for the incoming United manager, whoever that may be.
The German international has two years left on his contract at Borussia Dortmund, which contains a £28 million buyout clause, as per David Wright for the Daily Express. Reus has not committed to extending the deal and, when questioned, simply said, “I’m not saying anything about my contract.” This has alerted the interest of suitors, including Manchester United.
Reus operates in that attacking midfield/winger/forward role that all the best players in the world seem to. He is not really fixed to one position, he shifts to and fro, leaving defenders unaware of where he will pop up next.
This is a wonderful type of player to have in a side, but United are not short of them already. Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj can all fill that role to an exceptional standard. Whilst Reus would not look out of place alongside those names and could even improve that selection of players, this is not where the Red Devils need to strengthen as a matter of urgency.
Where the new boss at Old Trafford needs to improve is the two banks of players behind that line of creative force—the two holding midfielders and the defence. Those superbly skilful creators can only work their magic if someone wins the ball for them, keeps possession of it and then supplies them in the correct position. This is what has been lacking from United this season.
In central midfield, Michael Carrick is an accomplished player, but he lacks pace and he needs an athletic but also skilful player next to him to do the things he cannot. Neither Marouane Fellaini nor Tom Cleverley has shown the requisite talents to be that man.
It is hard to see Fellaini or Cleverley having long-term futures in the first team for United, and at 32 years old, Carrick is not guaranteed to be in the new manager’s plans, either. This would mean a vast outlay by the club if they are looking to bring in two world-class central midfielders, which puts any Reus move on the back burner.
There are also pressing issues at the back for the Red Devils with Nemanja Vidic’s exit already confirmed and Rio Ferdinand’s and Patrice Evra’s also looking likely. Oddschecker.com rate Ferdinand and Evra as second and third most likely to leave the roster next at Old Trafford after Ryan Giggs.
These three players have made 65 Premier League appearances between them this season (per ESPNFC), which leaves a substantial hole to fill in the back four. As with the void of quality central midfielders, replacing an almost entire defence is going to be a costly and time consuming job, one that must be prioritised over snapping up another flashy attacking talent.
If United have the funds and the confidence in their new boss to go out and buy three world-class defenders, two central midfielders of the same calibre and Reus, then all power to them. That would be a statement of intent that no one could argue with, but if Reus is chosen over answering the more pressing questions then it should be a worry for United fans.