When pondering the question of who can fill the boots of Michael Carrick, Jose Mourinho could be filled with dread.
Because while many from outside Manchester United view him as an average player who may even be a tad lucky to have got into the side for a decade, those who have observed him at closer quarters are fully aware of his value to the squad.
Because, however many stars you have in your side, you can’t win the top honours in football without adhering to the team ethic. And Carrick may just be the ultimate team player.
He’s a wonderful athlete who has rarely been injured despite playing in one of the most physically demanding leagues in world football.
He passes the ball beautifully, he shields the defence. And he brings a sense of calm to proceedings even in the fiercest of contests.
Quite simply, when Carrick plays, Manchester United usually win.
But at 35 his powers are finally waning. He hasn’t played as much of late and one would assume that he will have a younger replacement by the start of next season.
And who better to replace him than Toni Kroos? Manchester United should have signed him under David Moyes but the deal never got done.
And there have been reports this week that the immaculate German international could be persuaded to move to Manchester United from Real Madrid.
British media outlet, The Daily Star, passed this on from Spain on Monday:
TONI KROOS will consider joining Manchester United if Real Madrid don’t win a trophy this year, according to reports.
While the rumour may be spurious, there is little doubt that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho would be happy to sign Kroos. The German international has played 74 times for his country (12 goals) and has the same sort of metronomic game as Carrick.
If Manchester United could sign the 27-year-old he may well prove to be the final piece in the jigsaw for a club in transition.