After failing to agree a deal to sign Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, Manchester United quickly turned their attention to Real Madrid’s Casemiro and the Red Devils are now on the verge of bringing the Brazilian midfield enforcer to Old Trafford.
Date of Birth: 23/02/1992 (30)
Position: Defensive Midfield
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1.85 m (6ft)
Who is Casemiro?
Casemiro is a player who needs no introduction. He’s one of the most decorated players in world football. He left his homeland Brazil in the summer of 2013 to sign for European giants Real Madrid. He spent the 2014/15 season on loan in Portugal at FC Porto. But since then, he’s been a prominent figure in for Los Blancos.Embed from Getty Images
During his time in Madrid, Casemiro has been a pivotal part of their success. He’s won three La Liga titles, five Champions Leagues, three Fifa Club World Cups and 3 Uefa Super Cups. He’s also won a Copa Del Rey and three Spanish Super Cups. In addition to his success in Madrid, he also won the Copa America with Brazil in 2019.
After an incredibly successful period in Madrid, Casemiro now looks set to take up a new challenge in his career with a move to Old Trafford on the verge of being completed. Manchester United will reportedly pay Real Madrid €60m plus a further €10m in potential add-ons to secure the services of the Brazilian midfielder. He’s also set to sign a 4-year contract at Old Trafford, with the option to extend for a further 12 months.
StrengthsEmbed from Getty Images
Most people will be quite familiar with Casemiro’s game. He’s a high-quality defensive midfielder. One of his biggest strengths is his tackling ability. Over the last year, the Brazilian has attempted 3.21 tackles per game and won 2.2 on average – ranking him amongst the very best in his position. Last season, he also averaged 2.78 clearances per game, 2.25 blocks per game and around 2 interceptions per game. The Brazilian is also really good in the air and won 66% of his aerial duels last season in La Liga.
Another one of Casemiro’s biggest strengths is his passing. While he’s not someone who’s very good at carrying the ball, his passing range is exceptional. Last season in La Liga, he completed 76% of his attempted long-range passes – averaging 5.5 per game.
While it’s not Casemiro’s primary job to score goals, he will certainly add some goals to the United midfield. Over the last 3 seasons, he’s scored 12 times for Real Madrid which is a decent return for a defensive-minded player. Seven of those 12 goals were headers which show that Casemiro will be a big asset for Manchester United from offensive set-pieces which will be very valuable to Erik ten Hag’s side as United really struggled to score from set-pieces last season. The Red Devils also signed Christian Eriksen this summer who’s a set-piece specialist so United fans can be hopeful of seeing an improvement in that area.
WeaknessesEmbed from Getty Images
Despite Casemiro being world-class, there are a few concerns in his game. He’s not very quick or mobile. That may be an issue in England. Casemiro probably won’t have much trouble dealing with the physical side of the game in England, but the games are played at a much higher intensity than in Spain, which could expose his lack of pace and mobility at times.
Where would Casemiro fit in at United?
Casemiro will most likely start alongside Fred and either Christian Eriksen or Bruno Fernandes in midfield.
Everyone knows that Frenkie de Jong was Manchester United’s priority this summer. De Jong is world-class at taking the ball of the defence and progressing it forward. There was always a feeling that if Ten Hag wasn’t able to get De Jong, he would go to players in United’s current squad and try to develop one of them into that type of player.Embed from Getty Images
One player United could use for the role De Jong would’ve done is Casemiro’s fellow countryman Fred. In the 2018/19 Premier League season, Fred’s first at United, the Brazilian averaged 6.66 progressive carries as well as 5.62 progressive passes per game. While it’s not as good as Frenkie de Jong, it’s still quite impressive and with the right coaching, which Erik ten Hag can offer, he could become even better. While he hasn’t carried the ball as much in the last few seasons, that’s more to do with the system and what type of role he’s been asked to play.
That’s exactly why Fred will benefit so much from Casemiro’s arrival. With a specialist defensive midfielder behind him, he’ll have more licence to take the ball forward as he knows he’ll have someone who can cover him in case we lose possession. The pair already have a great partnership which they’ve built at the Brazilian national team. The duo have started 15 games together for Brazil and have won 13 of them, keeping 11 clean sheets.
Casemiro is the defensive-midfielder United have needed for a very long time. He’s someone who will make United a lot more solid from a defensive point of view but Ten Hag does need to play him to his strengths. Ten Hag must understand that he’s not a ball-progressing specialist or a player who can press high up the pitch.
VerdictEmbed from Getty Images
While unexpected, Casemiro is a very welcomed arrival at Old Trafford. He is undoubtedly one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. In addition to that, he’s a serial winner and also a leader. There have been questions as to why United didn’t go for someone who was younger but Casemiro will improve United massively and still has another 2-3 years left at the top level.
There are definitely questions about the mentality in Manchester United’s squad but
players like Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro are proven winners. They’ve all won the Champions League on numerous occasions and there’s a lot the rest of the squad can learn from them.
Casemiro is an astute signing and improves the squad massively. However, if United want to make the top 4 or win the Europa League this season, they’re going to have to add a few more quality players before the window closes.