Man Utd have Casemiro replacement as club legends gobsmacked by Mainoo

Should Man Utd sell Casemiro? | Football Digest

Manchester United already have a ready-made replacement for Casemiro within their ranks in the shape of Kobbie Mainoo. The teenager has come through the academy for the Red Devils and looks capable of stepping up and being a key player for Erik ten Hag.

United have struggled so far this season, with performances lacking cohesion and several big names failing to justify their reputations. Casemiro is among those to come under fire, prompting talks of whether he should depart sooner rather than later.

The Brazil international has attracted plenty of interest from Saudi Pro League clubs over the past few months, with several Middle Eastern outfits keen to acquire his services and lure another big player to their league.

It is unclear as to whether United would entertain a sale of their No 18, but the prospect of receiving a significant fee for a 31-year-old that is depreciating is likely to prove very attractive. Signing a replacement would therefore quickly become a priority for Ten Hag in January, though he may not truly need to bring a fresh face into the dressing room.

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Mainoo has been waiting in the wings at Old Trafford over the past 12 months and could be the ideal candidate to inject some fresh energy and pace into the United midfield and succeed Casemiro. The 18-year-old featured regularly for the Red Devils in pre-season but has played just 10 minutes of Premier League football since due to an injury but he is now close to full fitness again – and has already won huge praise from three club legends.

Bryan Robson is among Mainoo’s admirers, telling The Telegraph in pre-season: “He’s calculated and he’s reading the game, doing things in his own time. He closes down really well, receives the ball and changes the pattern of the game, quickens it up when he wants to and he’s using his football brain. I’m quite impressed with him.”

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Dennis Irwin echoed the sentiment of the fellow club legend after Mainoo helped United to a 2-0 win over Arsenal, telling MUTV: “He’s had a fantastic game Kobbie. Brave, good on the ball. It’s not just the assist, the defensive work as well. He’s got confidence, he looks a real top player. What I’ve seen from Mainoo, what the manager’s seen in training and matches, he must trust him.”

Ten Hag leaned on the teenager to protect the United defence in pre-season and drive the ball forward and into his more attacking teammates, with the ex-Ajax boss naming Mainoo in his starting XI to face Real Madrid in a major vote of confidence. Asked whether he was shocked by the decision, former Red Devils forward Andy Cole claimed that he wasn’t as he believes the playmaker is more than capable of making an impact in the first team.

“I think he has got a massive future ahead of him,” he continued. “If he keeps playing like that. He is playing like that at 18, it is all in front of him. His pre-season performances have cemented him in Manchester United’s squad going forward.”

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