REVEALED: Casemiro called Man United chief John Murtough hours after watching their humiliating loss at Brentford to say he still couldn’t wait to join, with the £70m star already a key man for Erik ten Hag
- A poor start to the season saw Manchester United hammered 4-0 by Brentford
- Despite the result, Casemiro reassured John Murtough he was willing to join
- The Brazilian has shone in Man United’s midfield since move from Real Madrid
- Erik ten Hag’s side have conceded just once in their last seven games
Manchester United were convinced Casemiro would be the real deal at Old Trafford by an encouraging phone call he made after their 4-0 defeat at Brentford in August.
United were in advanced negotiations with the Real Madrid superstar when they were humiliated in Erik ten Hag’s first away game, followed closely on television by Casemiro who was still in Spain.
But any fears the five-time Champions League winner might want to pull out of the move were dispelled when the 30-year-old Brazilian rang director of football John Murtough to assure him he was excited about being part of the revamp that he’d seen with his own eyes the club badly needed.
Casemiro joined Manchester United from Real Madrid in a £70million deal this summer
It convinced United that paying £70million for the Brazilian a week later would be a shrewd move despite being stung in the past by giving big paydays to other ageing South Americans Alexis Sanchez and Edinson Cavani.
His attitude also contrasted sharply with Frenkie de Jong who always appeared lukewarm about moving to England despite Barcelona trying to offload him to raise funds.
So far, Casemiro has more than fulfilled his side of the bargain. After waiting patiently for his place in the team, he has been a huge reason for United’s improved results, protecting the defence as a holding midfielder.
They go to Aston Villa on Sunday conceding only one goal in their last seven matches – and that a penalty from Chelsea’s Jorginho.
A poor start to the season saw Manchester United hammered 4-0 by Brentford in August
Despite the heavy defeat, Casemiro gave chief John Murtough (right) a call to reassure him
United’s recruitment record has been poor in recent seasons forcing a change in policy to only bring in players who genuinely want to play for them.
Ajax pair Lisandro Martinez and Antony both had to work hard to persuade their Dutch club to allow them to move to England – thereby persuading United they would fit into the new culture ten Hag is building at Old Trafford.
It’ll certainly be a vastly different United to the one that new Villa manager Unai Emery faced as Villarreal boss in the 2021 Europa League Final.
Emery’s Spanish underdogs beat United on penalties that night but ten Hag may pick only three of the same starting line-up selected by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just over a year ago.
The Brazilian midfielder has shone in Man United’s midfield since breaking into the team
From that United team, Paul Pogba and Cavani have left, Eric Bailly sent on loan to Marseille and Victor Lindelof and Aaron wan-Bissaka dropped down the pecking order. Mason Greenwood is facing court charges.
Three of the substitutes used by Solskjaer – Dan James, Juan Mata and Alex Telles – aren’t at the club either. Instead, they have recruited Cristiano Ronaldo, Antony, Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Casemiro for a combined price tag of £300million.
Bruno Fernandes is suspended for Villa Park after collecting five bookings.
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