It is now 44 days since Casemiro joined Manchester United from Real Madrid for £60 million but he is still waiting to make his first start in the Premier League.
The Brazilian midfielder has been consigned to the bench for four consecutive Premier League games and so far has seen only 82 minutes of action.
His only start for United was in the Europa League against Real Sociedad, when he played the full match, however he started on the bench for their trip to Moldova to face Sheriff Tiraspol before being brought on at half-time.
On Sunday Casemiro was forced to watch most of United’s humiliating 6-3 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad stadium from the bench where he sat next to his former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The joke on social media was Casemiro had only been brought to United to keep Ronaldo company on the bench and speak to him in Portuguese.
When he was signed towards the end of August it was hailed as an incredible coup that United now had one of the world’s best central defensive midfielders.
He appeared to be just what United needed, a leader and serial winner, who had claimed an incredible five Champions League titles while in the Spanish capital.
Throughout last season United’s midfield lacked presence and gave the ball away far too easily. Casemiro was seen as the immediate solution.
The Brazilian arrived after United had lost their opening two Premier League games against Brighton and Brentford, and so was expected to immediately go into the team, but before he could be registered United then went on a run of four consecutive wins.
The United manager Erik ten Hag did not want to disrupt a winning team and believed that Scott McTominay was proving he deserved to keep starting.
Casemiro’s absence has even prompted speculation Ten Hag had not been keen to sign him in the summer. While it is true he was not on his original list of targets, when he was told of Casemiro’s availability he enthusiastically gave his consent.
“On the day we signed Casemiro, we started to win and it’s about the team,” Ten Hag has explained. “The team is doing really well, it’s not against Casemiro, it’s for, in this case, Scott McTominay. He performed great in the team and then we get into a run.”
“I’m sure it will be important for us in the long and short-term. Casemiro will find himself in the team but it has to come in a natural way.”
That natural way is likely to be the manner in which United were comprehensively beaten by their neighbours and reigning Premier League champions Manchester City last Sunday.
The United defence went missing for most of an utterly miserable ninety minutes at the Etihad stadium, as time and time again the City attackers ran through the centre of pitch without encountering any resistance.
A midfield of Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay appeared to be too lightweight and too easily brushed aside.
It is crucial United address this glaring weakness with the immediate call-up of Casemiro, first against Omonia this Thursday in the Europa League and then against Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday.
United’s midfield needs to have more presence, give their defence greater protection, and look after the ball a lot better, and so it is their good fortune they currently have a world-class player on their bench who can immediately provide all of that.