Why Casemiro has become a unique commodity for Manchester United
There were a few eyebrows raised when Manchester United splashed out £70 million on Casemiro in the summer of 2022, with questions asked of whether the Brazilian still had the stomach for a fight and the engine for a Premier League midfield battle.
Any detractors have been made to look rather silly – a couple of red cards aside – with Casemiro’s value to the collective cause at Old Trafford now beyond any reasonable doubt. A team that could look a little fragile down its spine at times now boasts South American steel at its core.
CASEMIRO FOR MANCHESTER UNITED 🧩 pic.twitter.com/C7bttNa8Ds
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 26, 2023
A six-year wait for major silverware has been brought to a close, with a five-time Champions League winner on target in the Carabao Cup final, while Paddy Power football now has the Red Devils priced at 11/8 for Europa League glory and 12/5 to lift the FA Cup.
Erik ten Hag’s side looked to be in a title race at one stage, but Premier League winner odds now have them sat at 100/1, after seeing the odd precious point dropped in games where a healthy haul of three should have been collected.
Casemiro’s enforced absence through suspension has done little to aid United’s efforts, with it becoming almost impossible to replace the many qualities that he brings to the fold.
There have been suggestions that he, rather than Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford, has become the most integral part of Ten Hag’s well-oiled machine. Former Red Devils defender Wes Brown has said: “You can see the class coming out of him, from his first touch and his control. He’s become the talisman for the team.”
That is an easy assessment to make, with Casemiro topping the charts in several important areas. His mere presence makes United a better team, with those around him able to rest a little easier knowing that one of the best holding midfielders in the business has their back.
In any given Premier League outing, through to the end of March, Casemiro averaged 3.1 tackles per game. He also broke things up by conceding 1.8 fouls, earning 1.1 for his side and winning possession back through 1.3 interceptions. Nobody at Old Trafford can better those figures.
The Samba star also averaged 2.2 clearances per match, with only United’s collection of centre-halves bettering him there, while Fernandes (six) and Christian Eriksen (seven) were the only Red Devils to boast more than his tally of three assists in the English top-flight.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 23, 2023
In many ways, Casemiro has become a unique commodity for Ten Hag, with there nobody else in the United squad that can emulate what he does. They have other ball-winners and creative playmakers, but no one combines all of those qualities into one match-altering package.
Casemiro’s hefty transfer fee may have been questioned by some when he first arrived in England, but he has more than proved a point to those eager to write him off and has become the man most likely to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of a passionate fan base at the Theatre of Dreams.