Manchester United has signed Mason Mount from Chelsea with a hefty amount of over €60m. The 24-year-old English midfielder is among the best in his position that his country has to offer and is one of the biggest signings for next season.
However, it remains to be seen whether he is able to add value to United’s squad. His inclusion in the starting eleven will mean that of other midfielders will have to be benched. United has made a number of signing in the recent past that turned out to be disappointing ones.
Players like Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sánchez, Ander Herrera and Henrik Mkhitaryan had quite ordinary stints with the club, which might make the United faithful a bit apprehensive of Mount’s signing.
Mount had an underwhelming 2022-23 season
Chelsea had a forgettable 2022-23 season as a whole and Mount performed hardly any better. He scored three goals and had four assists in 35 matches, and often struggled to play the full 90 minutes in a match.
That is hardly the build-up one could ask for before signing for a club like Manchester United. It has to be remembered in this context that United will have to put players like Christian Eriksen and Fred on the bench in order to accommodate Mount in the starting 11.
However, the young midfielder definitely has the pedigree and talent to shine at Old Trafford. With almost 200 matches under his belt for Chelsea, he is experienced enough and also has age by his side. Hence, his association with United could prove to be a very fruitful and effective one in the long run.
Manchester United will have to play with a 4-3-3 with Mount in the team
With Mount in the team, United will have to play with a 4-3-3 with Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes being the other two midfielders. It will also mean that Fernandes will not be able to play as a typical No. 10 that he could have done in a 4-2-3-1, with Casemiro and Eriksen as the two holding midfielders.
Fernandes playing in a deeper role affected United in an adverse way last season. Hence, Mount will have to ensure that he adds enough creativity to his team and combines well with the wingers, too. He has the ability to play short, quick passes and can be quite expeditious, too. Moreover, he can be dangerous in the final third with deft touches in and around the opposition penalty box.
However, playing as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 will mean that he will have to grow the habit of playing probing long through balls as well. United prefers to play in a counter-attacking style, especially against the bigger teams. This means that Mount will have to spend a considerable amount of his time in the middle third. He will also learn to create moves from inside his own half at times.
One can safely assume that a quality manager like Erik ten Hag will do what is required to make Mount compatible with his team’s playing style. Should he be able to do that, United might reap the benefits of his signing for a long time in the future.