The Red Devils have added some massive names to the squad, including £55m signing Mason Mount as well as £82m Antony, but the jury is still out on some, if not all of Ten Hag’s most expensive players with supporters so bored they’ve resorted to distraction techniques inside Old Trafford.
One man in particular could be on his way out of Old Trafford already, having moved to England just last year.
The player Jim Ratcliffe wants to sell
The Brazilian has so far made 51 appearances for the English giants, earning plaudits for some of his performances in a red shirt, although Casemiro also missed a whole host of games through suspension, including two straight red card offences.
Nevertheless, this season, the 31-year-old has been hampered by injuries, causing him to feature only 12 times in all competitions under Ten Hag, making merely eight appearances in the Premier League.
It was recently reported that Manchester United’s prospective minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe listed Casemiro as an example of misguided recruitment in a meeting with other board members due to his price tag and being on the wrong side of 30.
Now, talkSPORT are reporting that Sir Jim is keen to sell the five-time European champion so soon into his career at the Theatre of Dreams, with clubs in Saudi Arabia interested in securing his signature.
But would Man United be making a mistake by selling Casemiro?
Casemiro’s stats this season
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher is certainly not a fan of Casemiro, nor United’s acquisition of the experienced midfielder, previously labelling him as a “panic buy” from the club. The Liverpool legend also called for Ten Hag to change his midfield following a dismal start to the campaign by his side.
On the face of it, Casemiro has looked quite solid statistically over the past calendar year when compared to others in the same position across Europe’s top-five leagues. The Real Madrid legend is sitting inside the top 12% for goals per 90 and the top 5% for expected goals per 90. Furthermore, the Brazilian is in the top 1% for blocks per 90 and passes blocked per 90 while also being in the top 16% for tackles won per 90, according to FBref.
Defensively, Casemiro is sound, apart from his obvious disciplinary issues. However, where United’s number ’18’ struggles the most is in his ability to make the team tick. The former Madrid star is an excellent passer of the ball when he has time and space to find a teammate, particularly from range. The issues lie in his struggles to play with his back to goal and his inability to make quick, incisive short passes to help move the opposition.
Casemiro is in the bottom 23% for pass completion percentage per 90 this calendar year and the bottom 17% for short passes completed per 90. Meanwhile, Manchester City’s midfield maestro Rodri is in the top 1% for pass completion percentage per 90 and the top 9% for short passes completed per 90.
The Spaniard is the fulcrum of Man City with his neat and tidy passes to make space, whereas Casemiro tends to prefer big switches of play, evident from his being in the top 9% for progressive passing distance per 90.
United need a player in the mould of Rodri or even Arsenal’s Declan Rice. Casemiro’s style of play suits a more transition-based team, not one keen to hold possession and build from the back, so if the Red Devils can recuperate adequate funds from the Brazilian’s sale, it’s best for all parties if they part ways.