Mason Mount’s Arrival Provides Manchester United with the Midfield Edge They Craved Last Season

Mason Mount

Under the scorching sun at Wembley, mere spectators struggled to keep up with the relentless midfield display by Manchester United. The treble-winning Manchester City team seemed untouchable, leaving the players in red grasping at shadows throughout the game.

Erik ten Hag, the United manager, found his confidence in David de Gea cooling off during the cup final. It was then that the notion of acquiring another midfielder solidified in his mind. The starting midfield trio that day consisted of Casemiro, aged 31, Christian Eriksen, also 31, and the 30-year-old Fred. Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes, positioned on the wing at Wembley, would turn 29 in September. United’s midfield boasted experience but was undeniably aging.

Last summer’s acquisition of Eriksen on a free transfer proved to be a clever move, but as the season progressed, he appeared to tire. Furthermore, he likely endured more game time than anticipated, both prior to and following his three-month absence due to an ankle injury. Consequently, while securing a striker seemed to be the primary focus for this summer’s transfer activity, and the goalkeeper conundrum demanded urgent attention, injecting some youthful energy into the midfield became vital. And in terms of energy, few players compare to the dynamism of Mason Mount. The 24-year-old will significantly reduce the average age of United’s midfield.

Mount aligns perfectly with Ten Hag’s desired playing style, exemplifying tremendous work rate and a relentless pressing game. The United manager first took notice of Mount during his loan spell with Vitesse Arnhem in 2017/18 and even attempted to secure his services for Ajax the following season. Finally, after five long years, Ten Hag has secured his desired player.

During Mount’s time in the Eredivisie, his manager at the time, Henk Fraser, drew an intriguing comparison, stating, “It may seem odd, but Mason is very reminiscent of Johan Cruyff. He possesses a wiry build, fluidity, and incredible speed in thought and execution that allows him to bypass challenges, much like Frenkie de Jong.”

United deserves recognition for successfully reaching an agreement with Chelsea after their fourth attempt, resulting in a deal that appeases both clubs. The transfer fee stands at £55 million, with an additional £5 million in performance-based add-ons that are highly unlikely to be achieved. United would be more than content to pay the full amount if those milestones were met.

Upon completing his move next week, Mount will sign a five-year contract, ensuring his availability for pre-season training. Having missed the international break in June, the midfielder will be among the first to arrive at Carrington.

This transfer appeared to be the simplest for United, given Mount’s contractual situation and his eagerness to make the move. Now, attention must shift to other areas of the squad.

The deal has effectively halved United’s estimated budget of £120 million, necessitating player sales. Fred could potentially depart, and there is ongoing interest in Scott McTominay from other Premier League clubs.

Sales will be critical to fulfill Ten Hag’s desired plans. While securing a striker remains imperative, it appears highly unlikely that it will be either Harry Kane or Victor Osimhen. Delving into the B-list of targets poses significant risks.

Additionally, the goalkeeping situation remains unresolved. Today could mark De Gea’s final day as a United player, or perhaps not. The club has yet to reach a decision.

While there is an interest in Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana, the question of who will be the number one for the upcoming season—whether it’s De Gea, Dean Henderson, Onana, or another option—remains murky.

At least the image of Ten Hag’s midfield has gained clarity. With rotational options available, Casemiro, Mount, and Fernandes are likely to be the preferred trio for the start of the season.

mason mount

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