With Manchester United having confirmed a transfer in principle for Casemiro, here is a profile of the midfielder from a Real Madrid fan perspective.
Manchester United announced an agreement in principle for the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid on Friday.
The five-time Champions League winner is famous for his intrinsic defensive midfield role in Madrid’s recent trophy-laden years.
As seen from flawless performances in Europe, Casemiro has been the lynchpin in Madrid’s balanced side.
He played as the defensive screen in the “Makélélé” role alongside ballplayers Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić, creating a peerless midfield trio and footballing system.
However, what does Casemiro consistently bring to his team – on and off the pitch – in terms of character, personality and style of play?
I spoke to you The Madrid Zonea Twitter page which constantly updates followers with reliable Real Madrid news and insight, to find out what exactly Manchester United fans can expect from the incoming signing.
The Madrid Zone: ‘One of our leaders without an arm band, always vocal, big personality and sets the tone every time, everywhere.’
‘All youngsters – Valverde, Vinícius, Militão, Rodrygo – love him. Kind of like their leader and reference point.’
Coming into a United side lacking characters, Casemiro’s presence and experience will be welcomed by a team drained of confidence and motivation.
Indeed, United’s leadership resources are extremely flawed. Erik ten Hag is considering whether to drop captain Harry Maguire from the starting line-up for Monday’s match against Liverpool.
Cristiano Ronaldo – a player from whom one would expect youngsters to be gaining valuable insight and influence – has been distancing himself from the squad as he seeks a transfer away from Old Trafford.
Casemiro’s stature as a leader without an arm band and the winning experience which he brings will be indispensable in a side that has lost its first two opening Premier League fixtures.
By playing behind younger forwards Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, one would hope Casemiro is able to help reignite their hunger and swagger by acting as an on-pitch midfield guard and an off-pitch reference point.
The Madrid Zone: ‘Even though he has this reputation of being an enforcer, he’s extremely nice and humble off the pitch.
‘Never had any issues what so ever off the field or caused any controversy.
‘Well spoken in interviews, always says the right things and was a huge favorite in the locker room.’
United have been riddled with off-field issues among players (and indeed hierarchical figures: think Ed Woodward and the Glazers) in recent years.
Dressing room leaks were a constant during last season’s drastic form under Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ralf Rangnick.
So much was the case that when chief executive Richard Arnold met with fans he highlighted that, among the players released by the club this summer, the leaks would also be rid.
Paul Pogba’s consistent circus voiced through super-agent Mino Raiola and Jesse Lingard’s and Dean Henderson’s connections to local journalists are expected to no longer be sources of dressing-room information, with the former signing for Juventus and the latter two signing for Nottingham Forest.
Casemiro’s lack of issues will not only be welcomed by fans but will also be helpful to ten Hag – who is attempting to instill a disciplined culture within the club.
Casemiro’s supposed lack of controversy and humble personality should help influence players – both younger and older – who are wanting to be a key part of ten Hag’s squad.
The Madrid Zone: ‘We needed a destroyer for our system and he was the perfect fit for us.
‘Best in the world you could say – but obviously has limitations in terms of building up play, passing, control, etc.
‘All of them were easy to neglect because Modrić and Kroos are generational technically.’
Casemiro’s position, playing style, and specific qualities have been completely – and unforgivably – vacant from United’s eleven for years.
Nemanja Matić was bought to replace Michael Carrick as a defensive midfielder, but was consistently injured and incapable of replicating his form for Benfica and Chelsea.
Managers have had to rely on Scott McTominay and Fred as a double pivot to compensate for the lack of an unequivocal Premier League-standard midfield lynchpin.
Casemiro’s skillset to provide a screen with ‘destroyer‘-like capabilities will prove crucial to United’s defensively frail side, as evidenced from the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford.
Furthermore, ten Hag could employ fellow new signings Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes or Donny van de Beek in the ballplaying midfield roles which Kroos and Modrić occupied in Madrid’s system.
Through these players, United have the options to help Casemiro’s fallibility in build-up play.
Moreover, his presence in midfield should enable forward players to be more comfortable in attacking the final third.
Whether ten Hag’s side can recapture its pre-season form and energy with a best-in-class defensive midfielder in the team, however, is difficult to ascertain.
But – fans can be optimistic that he will help the team in more ways than one. A word-class number six and experienced leader has arrived.
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