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Report: Man United Intensify Pursuit of Midfield Prodigy

Manchester United Ramp Up Efforts to Sign Xavi Simons Amid Arsenal Competition

Manchester United have intensified their pursuit of Xavi Simons, aiming to outmanoeuvre Arsenal and other European giants in the race to secure the services of the dynamic midfielder. With a busy summer of transfers anticipated under Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s newly formed football operations team, United are looking to strengthen a squad that underperformed last season despite an FA Cup triumph.

Targeting Midfield Reinforcements

Erik ten Hag, retained as manager due to the FA Cup win, is eager to reinforce the central spine of his team, focusing on both defence and midfield. The potential signing of Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite is expected to address the defensive concerns if both clubs can agree on a transfer fee.

However, the midfield remains a key area of focus, and Xavi Simons has emerged as a prime target. Simons, who honed his skills at Barcelona’s La Masia academy, moved to PSG in 2021 before seeking regular first-team action at PSV. His stellar 2022/23 Eredivisie season, where he scored 19 goals and provided eight assists, prompted PSG to activate a £5 million buyback clause.

Simons’ Impressive Loan Spell at RB Leipzig

Upon returning to PSG, Simons was loaned out to RB Leipzig, where he continued to showcase his potential with eight goals and 11 assists in the Bundesliga. Despite his impressive performances, his future at PSG remains uncertain. French publication L’Equipe reports that “nothing has been decided” regarding Simons’ role at PSG, with the club yet to be convinced of his readiness for regular game time.

Currently valued at €60 million (£51 million), Simons has a contract with PSG until 2027 but will officially rejoin the French side on July 1. As he competes in Euro 2024 with the Netherlands, where he started in their group opener against Poland, his immediate focus remains on the tournament.

Potential Pathways for Simons

According to reports, Simons has three potential options this summer: reintegration into PSG’s squad under Luis Enrique, a permanent transfer, or another loan. Given the financial implications of a permanent move – with a significant portion of the transfer fee owed to PSV – a loan appears the most viable option.

United, alongside Arsenal, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich, have expressed strong interest in the 21-year-old. However, Simons plans to communicate his preference only after the Euros. Speaking to Eindhoven Dagblad, he stated: “I will make a decision after the European Championships and a short break. I want to be focused on the tournament because that is my current priority and afterwards I will speak with PSG.”

The Strategic Importance of Signing Simons

For Manchester United, securing Simons would represent a strategic coup, enhancing their midfield creativity and attacking options. His versatility and proven track record in both Eredivisie and Bundesliga highlight his potential to adapt to the Premier League’s demands.

Moreover, Ratcliffe’s team is keen on avoiding past mistakes by securing young, dynamic talents who can deliver consistent performances. Simons fits this profile perfectly, bringing not only skill and vision but also a hunger to prove himself on bigger stages.

As the transfer window progresses, United fans will eagerly watch how the pursuit of Simons unfolds, hoping that the club can fend off competition and secure a player who promises to be a pivotal addition to their midfield.

Statistical Analysis by EPL Index

Xavi Simons: Performance Data Breakdown

The recent performance data for Xavi Simons, provided by Fbref, paints a vivid picture of a versatile and highly effective attacking midfielder. In the last 365 days, Simons has demonstrated remarkable proficiency in several key areas, making him a valuable asset for any top European club.

Offensive Prowess and Creativity

Xavi Simons excels in offensive metrics, ranking in the 91st percentile for assists per 90 minutes. This highlights his ability to create goal-scoring opportunities, as evidenced by his expected assisted goals (xAG), where he ranks in the 89th percentile. His total shots per 90 (2.69) and shot-creating actions (6.07) further underscore his offensive capabilities, placing him among the elite in attacking midfielders.

Simons’ non-penalty goals per 90 are also notable, sitting in the 58th percentile, with a non-penalty expected goals (npxG) of 0.22 per 90 minutes. This indicates a strong presence in front of goal, even if his goal tally isn’t the highest, his ability to generate quality chances remains significant.

Possession and Ball Progression

Simons shows exceptional skill in ball progression and retention. He ranks in the 86th percentile for progressive carries and the 81st percentile for progressive passes. This means he is adept at advancing the ball upfield, creating opportunities, and maintaining possession under pressure. His pass completion rate stands at 79%, reflecting his reliability in possession.

Additionally, his touches in the attacking penalty area per 90 are relatively high, showcasing his involvement in the final third and his tendency to take on defenders. His successful take-ons per 90 (86th percentile) further indicate his dribbling prowess and ability to beat opponents in one-on-one situations.

Defensive Contributions

While primarily an offensive player, Simons’ defensive stats reveal areas for improvement. He ranks lower in defensive actions such as tackles (24th percentile), interceptions (69th percentile), and clearances (4th percentile). This suggests that his role is heavily skewed towards attacking duties, with less emphasis on defensive responsibilities.

In conclusion, Xavi Simons’ performance data from Fbref highlights his significant contributions in attacking and possession metrics, making him a standout performer. His ability to create and convert chances, coupled with his skill in advancing the play, positions him as a top-tier attacking midfielder in European football.

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