Manchester United find their next defensive midfielder?

Manchester United Old Trafford 2

Manchester United may have just unearthed their next defensive midfielder, Frederic Veseli.

Frederic Veseli was signed by Manchester United 14 months ago, when he decided to make the brave move to switch from Manchester City over to Old Trafford.

Swiss youth international Veseli is now 20-years-old, but faces a tough task ahead of him to break into the first team at Old Trafford.

Not only are Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans all in front of him - in the under-21 ranks he is well down the pecking order too.

Even with Scott Wootton and Michael Keane out on loan, Veseli is being kept out of the under-21 side by Tom Thorpe and Michele Fornasier - making him United's 10th choice centre-back - And that is not to include Michael Carrick being played out of position.

To think Veseli left City stating he would get 'better opportunities' at United, his choice had not been looking too good, until recently.

It could actually pan out to be the smartest decision Veseli ever made, for he is being moulded into a defensive midfielder, a position in which United could well do with some fresh input in the first team, and somebody offering a different style to Michael Carrick - who is doing an excellent job, but at 31 he could do with a young challenger to keep him on his toes.

Veseli has played the last two matches in the centre, most recently in the under-21 draw with Wolves on Monday, with the game finishing 0-0.

He played alongside midfielder Anderson and was positive about his new role, telling Manutd.com, "It was good experience, of course, playing in that position and I think I've proved I can play there as well. I really enjoy it as I get a lot more of the ball."

It is early days certainly, but United may just hope they have found themselves a long-term solution in midfield.

The path to the first team may not exactly be instant for Veseli, but United are not blessed with players who can play the midfield anchor role, with Darren Fletcher out until further notice.

They have Michael Carrick and Phil Jones, who like Veseli can also play in defence, but performed with great success against both Everton and Real Madrid before picking up an injury.

United have been linked with players like Cheik Tiote in the past, but Celtic star Victor Wanyama is a far more likely summer transfer target, but the club will face competition from Arsenal for him.

If Veseli is serious about building his future in the position, and at this stage it is fairly experimental, he needs more games there between now and the end of the season and then his performances can be assessed further by Warren Joyce, Sir Alex Ferguson and the rest of the coaching staff.

He will likely travel with United on their pre-season tour, and there he will be able to stake a claim to be fast-tracked.

It will be an interesting one to watch, and considering the competition Veseli faces at centre-back, compared to a lighter list of competitors in midfield, he may just be wise to ask to persist in the position.

Is Veseli's future in midfield rather than centre-back? Will United buy in the summer? 

image: © Iris Chase

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