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Why Manchester United need to make James Maddison their prime transfer target

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Maddison is exactly what United need

Manchester United find themselves in free-fall after another disappointing season of uncertainty. The club have been in disarray since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson left his post of 27 years in 2013, with a series of successors failing to live up to expectations at Old Trafford. Things were always going to be difficult at United after such a long period of dominance in English football's top flight, but six years on and the situation at the club has started to become laughable.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all tried and failed in the hot seat at arguably the world's biggest football club, and while former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did initially look as though he would be the one to restore the belief at Old Trafford after picking up a string of impressive results in his opening 10-15 games, things dropped off massively towards the tail end of the campaign, resulting in the club finishing sixth - an astonishing 32 points behind fierce rivals Manchester City who ended up winning the division.

Blame ultimately lies with not just the manager, but the playing staff and it is clear that this current crop of footballers are quite simply not up to the standard required to meet the demands of top flight success. United are streets behind both City and Liverpool at the moment, and it is difficult to see when they will return as genuine rivals to the two clear front runners who so evidently dominated proceedings in the Premier League last season.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Things just haven't been the same since Fergie departed

Players like Paul Pogba were scapegoated last season but it was at times for good reason, too often the France international went missing and failed to do his bit for the side when they really needed him to help out. The story of Alexis Sanchez is one of the most tragic in recent times; a player of such quality for years at Arsenal joined a club in turmoil on an obscene contract and seemingly just lost all of his confidence, and with it went all of his ability. Marcus Rashford has a long and promising future ahead of him but even he started to falter throughout the back end of last season and that again is down to a severe lack of confidence pulsating through the whole squad.

The same can be said for Jesse Lingard, who was a standout performer last season and stepped up to the plate so maturely for England last summer - he has faded well and truly into the background now things have got really tough which signifies the level of character in this United dressing room at the moment. Reinforcements have to be brought in this summer if the Red Devils are to even attempt at returning to their former might next term, though there is no point in bringing in the type of superstar that has gone before them in recent seasons.

The squad is already bursting at the seams with ego-driven young pre-madonna's who have no idea how to deal with a fight, there is no room for any more. The personnel introduced this summer have to possess not just quality but a willingness to grind results out, a willingness to try something new and above all else, a willingness to give their absolute all for the cause. At the moment you'd struggle to highlight a single player who does that at the club and that is why something needs to change - Leicester City's James Maddison is exactly the type of player United need.

Alexis Sanchez Paul Pogba
Question marks over Sanchez and Pogba's commitment to United have overshadowed them this season

Proven his worth

Maddison, who joined the Foxes last summer having shined in the Championship with Norwich prior to his arrival at the King Power, was one of the brightest talents in last season's Premier League. The England U21 international, who will be representing the Young Lions this summer at the upcoming U21 European Championships in Italy, was instrumental in Leicester's assault on the top half of the Premier League last season; the Foxes obtained a respectable ninth-placed finish in the end and it was largely down to Maddison's input.

The former Aberdeen midfielder scored seven goals and registered seven assists in the top flight last term, frequently putting in MOTM-worthy performances against some of the divisions biggest sides. It is such maturity that makes Maddison a huge prospect, with his inclusion in future senior England squads all but a certainty should he keep performing to this elite level.

But why is he the man to help pull United from the pits of despair? Well, it's simple, really. The club need players who feel as though representing Manchester United is an honour, players who have not spent years already competing at the highest level with some of the world's biggest clubs. United need players who's careers are currently on the rise, not players who have plateaued and are coasting at top sides who win almost every match they play. These players aren't used to failure and don't react well to grinding out performances - Maddison has worked his way up through the leagues so knows exactly how to react when things become difficult.

James Maddison
Maddison proved that he could cut it in the Premier League last season, this is just the start for the former Norwich man

United don't need any more passengers

United saw it with Angel Di Maria four years ago, here you have a player who won trophies with Real Madrid but flopped at Old Trafford because things weren't straight forward and a different approach was required to be able to get results. The Argentine has since gone on to be a star for Paris-Saint Germain in Ligue 1 - why? Because it's easy over there and he is a luxury player, he doesn't have to break a sweat and it suits him. It wasn't like that at United which is why things never worked out.

The same can be said for Paul Pogba, at Juventus he was a superstar, THE main man in a weak league where Juve won everything with ease. Again, at United, he has to be the man to rally the troops when the chips are down and more often than not he can't do it. When things are good he shines because he is an exceptionally gifted footballer who possesses an abundance of quality, though these bursts come far too sporadically and that cannot happen at a club like Manchester United, a club where their central midfielders over the years have been flawless more or less every single week. Would you see Paul Scholes or Roy Keane throwing their toys out of the pram when things got difficult? Would you fuck. They'd grab the game by the scruff of the neck and make something happen, Pogba doesn't.

di maria
When the going gets tough, too many players show their true colours

I am in no way comparing James Maddison to Roy Keane or Paul Scholes here, though you can't help but feel that the 22-year-old would show a damn sight more heart, passion and determination each week in a United shirt, purely because he would feel so grateful to be given a chance at a club like Manchester United, to wear the crest on his chest on a weekly basis. It was just three years ago that Maddison was plying his trade in the third-tier of English football with Coventry City, remember, so to turn out for United would mean so much to him, which would be reciprocated in his performances for the Red Devils every time he stepped onto the pitch.

He has quality too, and lots of it. This season showed that Maddison could cut it at the very top and with no disrespect to Leicester intended, you would be foolish to suggest that the Foxes are the limit of this young man's potential. If United do opt to sign another foreign superstar for a ridiculous sum of money, on a ludicrous, long-term contract then they are, quite simply, idiots who would have yet again failed to learn from their mistakes.

Taking a gamble on a young, homegrown, international footballer currently on the rise from the lower leagues, as opposed to one who is cruising at the very top, will be much more beneficial for a team struggling to return to their former glory, that's a fact.

Maddison's odds on signing for United before August 9th: EVENS with Betfair - BET HERE. (odds accurate as of 15:00 04/06/19 - subject to change)