Harry Winks could be the answer to Manchester United’s midfield issues

Harry Winks could be the answer to Manchester United’s midfield issues

Harry Winks has struggled to impress Jose Mourinho since the Portuguese manager took over at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Spurs’ academy graduate thrived under Mauricio Pochettino, allowing him to break into the England squad. However, his place in the squad for the European Championships is under threat and his long term club future is now in doubt. The Athletic report that Manchester United and Manchester City are tracking the midfielder.

The former have an eye on a transfer this month, while City would be looking for a summer deal. Tottenham fans will be concerned at this interest, as their problems in central midfield are clear. They have failed to find the right combination of players and it is a position that they would like to strengthen themselves during this month. It would be foolish to sell Winks to a rival at this stage. That said, if he isn’t rated by Mourinho, it could feasibly happen.

Winks isn’t a dynamic central midfielder, but he is a clever passer and capable of linking the defence with the attack. This is his key quality and it is one that Manchester United have been missing. This season, his pass completion has been 90.4% in the Premier League. The England international looks to play without risk, but he can thrive in a deep midfield role. His quickness and intelligent decision making can be key to breaking down a determined defence.
Manchester United’s issues have come against weaker opposition, as their build-up play can be slow and predictable. They need an inventive passer to increase the tempo in these situations. They have identified Winks as an option to do that. Although he only averages 0.6 key passes in the Premier League, he can provide a platform for attacking players to get on the ball in space.
Meanwhile, his average of 2.3 ball recoveries per game shows that he can be aggressive out of possession and win the ball back for his team. This isn’t his primary role, but it is an important side of his game that allows him to be effective in a deeper role. Winks isn’t a holding defensive midfielder, but he is capable when he has the right partners alongside him.

Mourinho clearly doesn’t feel that he is the right man for his style. However, the reported interest underlines how highly rated Winks is around the country. His age and his status as an England international makes him the perfect target for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Manchester United boss has shown a preference for homegrown players and the Tottenham man could be the answer to their midfield issues.

Although a move to Manchester City may appeal more to Winks. He would get the opportunity to work under Pep Guardiola and he would suit their metronomic style of play. That said, there would be doubts relating to his first team football. Further to this, there would be more appeal to move this month to ensure he keeps his place in the England squad ahead of the summer.

Tottenham would not want to sell to a rival, but they may be left in a difficult position if Winks isn’t given assurances of game time. The links to Manchester City and Manchester United underline his reputation in the game. It would be a huge shock if a transfer happens this month, but he would be a particularly great signing for the latter.