Manchester United are in for a defensive midfielder this January, and the possible options touted for them are the likes Denis Zakaria and Eduardo Camavinga. The Red Devils have taken a back seat in recent times, but the resurrection of Fred has helped them turn a corner. The Brazilian has finally risen, but this has not stopped the 13-time champions from looking for another player to bolster the defensive midfield role. So, are Zakaria and Camavinga any better than Fred? Let’s find out. 

Manchester United Continue Search For New Defensive Midfielder

Fitness levels

Fitness levels could prove to be significant in an intense league like the Premier League. The 13-time Premier League champions have lost crucial players due to injury in recent times, so it’s only right they go after a ball-winner who is capable of keeping himself fit for an entire season.

The Brazilian midfielder has hardly ever spent time on the treatment bench, and this record is similar to the impressive Frenchman Eduardo Camavinga. On the contrary, The Swiss international Zakaria has missed forty-two games due to injury since the start of the 15/16 season. The recent knee injury is the longest the Swiss International has been on the shelf, with the recovery lasting for about 246 days. During his recovery, the former Young Boys midfielder missed 21 games for his club Borussia Monchengladbach.

Work-rate

Manchester United’s intent to move forward has often left them exposed at the back. The former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder has been going through a period of revival since the start of last season. His work-rate is one of the biggest reasons why he is one of the first ones on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s team sheet every week.

Statistically speaking, the 11-time capped Brazilian managed to cover a distance of 40.5 km in 340 minutes worth of action in the 2020/21 season of the UEFA Champions League.

The above stat is superior as opposed to the Rennes midfielder’s 37.5 km in 331 minutes of action.

The Bundesliga midfielder has had an injury-ridden start to the campaign but has managed to cover an incredible 13.4 km in 111 minutes. The projected number of the former Young Boys midfielder is sure to eclipse his counterparts.

Defensive numbers

The samba star managed 2.1 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per 90 in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, while the 24- year old midfielder managed 2.1 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per 90.

Both players are pale in comparison to the 18-year old wonderkid, who managed an eye-dropping 4.2 tackles along with 1.4 interceptions per 90. 

As a genuine parameter for comparison, The Ligue 1 star and the Bundesliga ball-winner are clear as far as the tackle success rate is concerned, with the latter and the former managing 69% and 72%, in the 2019/20 season.

The above tackle success rates are a far cry from the former Ukrainian Premier League star’s 44% success rate last season.

Attacking Output

The 27-year old midfielder has shown some great composure while moving forward but has had a few rare mishaps, sometimes arising during crucial moments. These mistakes have led to the Premier League giants conceding goals. The other two defensive midfielders possess a track record for doing better in such situations, and this should help Solskjaer’s men breathe a sigh of relief. 

Character

There is nothing to separate the duo from the current Manchester United No.17, as both possess a clean track record for being team players. 

Are Zakaria and Camavinga any better than Fred?

While all three midfielders are sensational in their own right, Zakaria and Camavinga can offer something more, especially in terms of aerial ability and quality tackling. On the brighter side, Fred’s resurrection means more options for the Manchester club, as they look to add more quality to end their 7-year long title drought. 

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