Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will be in the market for a midfielder at the end of the season in order to replace Michael Carrick, who is expected to hang up his boots and join the coaching team at Manchester United.
The England international has not been a regular feature in the Red Devils first-team this season after having missed almost the entire first-half of the campaign with a heart condition.
Carrick has returned to action in the New Year and has made two appearances thus far. He played the full 90 minutes against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup and came on as a second-half substitute during the Red Devils' loss against Newcastle United last weekend (11 February).
The 36-year-old was a vital part of Mourinho's midfield as they went on to win three trophies last season, and his absence this season has been felt. Paul Pogba has not had the best of campaigns, while Ander Herrera has also not been a regular. The only consistent performer in the United midfield has been Nemanja Matic.
Moreover, Carrick is unlikely to be the only summer departure from midfield, as they are yet to agree on a new deal with Marouane Fellaini, who will be a free agent in the summer. It is expected that he will leave for pastures new after failing to impress on a consistent basis since his arrival from Everton in 2014.
While Mourinho confirmed the need for midfield reinforcements in the summer, the manager also revealed that he will not be in the market for forwards and wingers. United signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal during the January transfer window, and the presence of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial gives the manager enough options in attack.
"We need to sign a midfield player because we are going to lose Michael Carrick," Mourinho said ahead of United's FA Cup clash against Huddersfield Town, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"Of course we need balance in the team and I said that months ago. You can accuse me of many things but you cannot say I lie to you.
"When I don't want to say things, I don't say, but I don't take you in other directions. So I told you we don't want to sign any strikers or wingers, and yes we are looking for a midfield player," the Portuguese coach added.
Mourinho does have an option of promoting from within the ranks after Carrick anointed Scott McTominay to replace him next season. The young midfielder came up through the ranks at the club and is now a permanent member of the United first-team having made 12 appearances in all competitions.