The Debate: United's standout signing of summer 2022
It is still early days as far as the 2022/23 season goes, but with the first international break of the campaign here, it seems an opportune time to ask the question: which of Erik ten Hag’s permanent summer signings has made the biggest impact so far?
While we’re still champing at the bit to see more of Casemiro and Antony – who both arrived after the campaign’s kick-off – Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez have wasted little time in displaying their qualities across our opening fixtures.
It is for that reason that the three were the bedrock of the conversation between our panellists on this week’s episode of The Debate, when the aforementioned question was asked.
See how host Liam Bradford, journalists Rob Dawson and Laurie Whitwell, plus former United defender David May answered, before making your pick below in our poll…
“Martinez: outstanding. Malacia: outstanding. Christian Eriksen: now becoming outstanding. Obviously, we’ve not seen enough of Antony. Casemiro, we’ve not seen enough of, but those three have been outstanding they really have. I think it’s down to getting the right pieces for the right jigsaw. The manager has done that and specifically picked certain players for the right areas. Martinez, for me, has been outstanding, him and [Raphael] Varane now have a partnership that can build and as long as you have got a strong spine throughout the team, you’ve got a great chance of winning things.”
- David May
“Eriksen for me, I just think he’s completely changed that midfield. At the end of last season, [Bruno] Fernandes was getting a bit of stick, Scott McTominay was getting a bit of stick and now, suddenly you put Eriksen in there and it just seems to flow a lot easier. That performance against Arsenal was one of the best midfield performances I’ve seen at Old Trafford for years. Just the way he can control the games, some of his passes, particularly just the way he started moves for goals. Not that assist particularly, but the pass to start the move that ended with a goal [against Arsenal]. You see him asking for the ball when he’s got two other lads bearing down on him, he’s not scared to take the ball and just bounce it back, move it along and recycle it. He makes United look so much more fluid. In terms of just transfer fee alone, it’s such a clever signing. It would have been easy to overlook it at the age he was, the issues he’s had with his heart and things, it would have been easy to say: ‘thanks but no thanks’. But they didn’t, they took a little bit of a risk, not a massive risk, and it’s paid off.”
- Rob Dawson
ERIKSEN HAS TRANSFORMED THE TEAM
“I think, for me, Eriksen has actually been the one that has transformed the team. I didn’t realise he would play as much as he has done, I thought he would be an alternate with Bruno Fernandes, but actually, sitting him in that deep midfield – I know we had a trial run in that false-nine which didn’t quite work in the opening game of the season – but I think that was perhaps just adjusting to a new team in a competitive environment rather than on the pre-season tour. He, of course, wasn’t on the pre-season tour which was perhaps a little asterisk there. But the fact he can adapt to certain situations so well, higher up the pitch, lower in midfield, as Rob says, moving that ball forwards seems so effortless for him. The fact he’s playing every week, he’s playing full matches, he looks perfectly fine fitness-wise.”
- Laurie Whitwell
“I think there is something about being a Manchester United fan and Martinez’s attitude and the way he goes about things, and the size of the fight in the dog rather than the size of the dog in the fight. I think there’s something in all of that, that would make me err towards Martinez, even though I think Eriksen has been equally as effective.”
- Liam Bradford