‘Don’t think he’s necessarily ready’ – Jonathan Johnson rules out a Man United switch for French midfield talent

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Although Man United still don’t know who will be the owners of the club at the start of the 2023/24 campaign, it’s incumbent on Erik ten Hag to ensure that he identifies targets that he would like to see wearing the red shirt next season.

If, as expected, the Red Devils end the current season in the Champions League positions, the Dutchman will need to beef up the squad accordingly, and the talent that arrives through the doors at Old Trafford has to be of a sufficient standard to improve upon who is already there.

One player that has apparently potentially been considered is Borussia Monchengladbach’s young French midfielder, Manu Kone.

However, senior journalist, Jonathan Johnson, has all but ruled out a switch to Man United for the player.

‘Kone’s a bit of an all rounder, and all action but I don’t think he’s necessarily ready for the jump up to Manchester United and the expectations that would come with that,’ he wrote in his exclusive CaughtOffside Substack.

‘Equally, coming back to PSG, and being a French talent that they would have to pay quite significantly for, that would also present a number of challenges. 

‘I do think he’s a very interesting profile and he’s expecting to be on the move this summer. He’s developed well so far with ‘Gladbach, he’s certainly on the radar in terms of a potential French national team call up in the near future, and it just seems like he needs to find the right fit in order for him to develop further and reach the next level of his game which should ultimately put him in that top band of midfield talent.’

Given that he plays in central midfield and can operate either defensively or in a more attack-minded role, it’s clear that he would be a player who would grace most teams, however, without any Premier League experience, he’s hardly likely to be able to dislodge players like Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.

‘I’m just not sure that going to a team where he’s not guaranteed to be part of the starting XI – which would be the case at either PSG or United – would be the best move for him right now,’ Johnson continued.

‘Depending what happens with ‘Gladbach moving forward, potentially staying on for another year might not actually be the worst for his development but it depends on that project and what they try to achieve with it.’

Assuming that ten Hag definitively decides against bringing Kone on board, it leaves United in a bit of a quandary, given that they do need some strength in depth in the middle of the park.

From a supporter perspective, the best they can do is keep the faith and trust in their manager’s judgement.

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