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Why Mason Mount fits perfectly at Man Utd

15 Jun 2023
James O'Connor 15 Jun 2023
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  • The Red Devils have had one bid of £40m rejected for Chelsea’s Mount
  • The 24-year-old has just one year left on his Blues contract
  • Where does the attacking midfielder fit with Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen in the squad?
mason mount
Man Utd's pursuit of Mason Mount makes perfect sense (Getty Images)

Why Mount is available

The first thing to make clear is that Mount being available is a good opportunity for clubs. He has a year left on his contract at Chelsea and it looks certain that he won’t agree a new deal. 

He was strongly linked with Liverpool in January as part of their midfield rebuild but those links have gone cold. Man Utd became strongly linked around April and had a £40m bid rejected on Wednesday.

Chelsea appear to feel that Mount’s contract demands were too lavish as he sought parity with the salaries of teammates like Raheem Sterling. A difficult 2022-23 season meant The Blues became less insistent on holding onto the player at any cost.

What Mount Brings to Man Utd

The Chelsea academy product has always been an incredibly versatile player. Under Frank Lampard, he played either as a number ten or a left-sided number eight. Once Thomas Tuchel took over, Mount usually played in the front three in the German coach’s 3-4-3 shape. 

However, despite his strong goalscoring record under Tuchel, he was also stranded in a wider role at times and his overall influence on matches was not as evident.
He was named Chelsea’s player of the year in both 2020-21 and 2021-22 and his form on the way to winning the UEFA Champions League in 2021 was outstanding. He scored against FC Porto in the quarter-final and against Real Madrid in the semi-final. In the final, he assisted Kai Havertz’s winning goal. 

In the 2021-22 season, he scored 13 goals and assisted a further 16 strikes. After the World Cup last season, he struggled with a groin problem and barely started any matches after returning from Qatar.

Why Ten Hag wants him

For many Man Utd fans, they can’t understand why signing Mount is such a high priority for Erik Ten Hag. Firstly, the Dutch coach knows the player back from a loan spell at Vitesse as a teenager where he put up 24 goal contributions (14 goals, 10 asissts). 

In fact, Mount played for Vitesse in a win against Ten Hag’s Ajax team that season. Almost all of Man Utd’s recruitment, Casemiro aside, has seen former Eredivisie or Dutch players targeted. It is a market that their coach knows well. 

But where does Mount fit in that Man Utd midfield?

This is the big question. Bruno Fernandes is a key man and will certainly be in the starting XI and Christian Eriksen has excelled since joining the Red Devils. Would the latter make way? If so, Casemiro would be the lone holding midfielder with Mount and Fernandes as two number eights. 

A clue could be in how Man Utd set up when Eriksen was injured last season. Ten Hag moved Fernandes to a deeper role in the double pivot and used a hard-working number with the likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Wout Weghorst, Fred and even Scott McTominay playing in that role. 

Fernandes also started quite a few matches in a wide role, both on the right and the left. Ten Hag’s Ajax side often had Hakim Ziyech playing narrow on one side. At times, he used Ziyech and Donny van de Beek as two attacking midfielders with one holding player.

This move is a no-brainer

Anyone who has watched Mount in detail over the last three seasons will know that he is best in a deeper role. He can switch play, his pressing is outstanding and he finds space between the lines very well. There is untapped potential in the player as a number eight, a role he rarely played under Thomas Tuchel.

Ten Hag has played a more pragmatic style in his first season but his second campaign may see more of the traits of his Ajax side. To do that, he needs more energy and legs in midfield. Mount brings that in spades. And because of his contract situation, this deal is cheaper than it would ordinarily be. 

Mason Mount would be a huge loss for Chelsea and a perfect signing for Manchester United. I see this move happening in the next couple of weeks for a fee in the region of £50m plus add-ons. 

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