It was widely expected that Manchester United would release at least one of their central defenders this summer. Axel Tuanzebe and the rest of the club’s academy defenders aren’t even factored in yet, and now Erik ten Hag has five senior options in this position thanks to the arrival of Lisandro Martinez.
The M.E.N. has learned that Eric Bailly is close to signing a loan deal with Olympique Marseille, with the club having the option to buy the defender should he perform well in France. As a result, despite Chelsea’s apparent interest in Harry Maguire, United should not approve a trade for him.
Ten Hag cannot leave himself short of cover in a position he has just spent an initial sum of £46m strengthening. Despite the fact that he would likely boost Chelsea and so harm United’s prospects of finishing in the top four next season. Even though the 2021/22 season has gotten off to a rough start with the club allowing six goals in two games, Maguire has been in fine form.
You can’t rely on Raphael Varane to stay healthy, as United supporters saw last season. However, he is an experienced and competent choice to have either as a starting or rotational defender. Injuries forced him to miss 16 games last year, and if that happens again, it could be disastrous if there isn’t a deputy ready to step in.
Although he is a solid central defender, Victor Lindelof is significantly less effective with the ball than Harry Maguire. The Swedish defender is best suited for the right side of the defense, whereas Maguire has the versatility to play either central back position.
United also has Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe as options, but neither is good enough to be counted on if any of the club’s first, second, or third choice options become injured.
Similarly, giving the club’s younger players consistent playing time is a risky proposition with so much at stake. Teen Mengi and Bjorn Hardley have done well for the club’s youth teams, but they are not quite ready to make the jump to the main squad.
🚨 Manchester United have made their stance on Harry Maguire clear 👇https://t.co/SXM4qI0tmf
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) August 21, 2022
It seems strange that United fans are debating whether or not to trade their captain to an in-conference opponent. A year after the Europa League final, when some fans blamed his injury for United’s loss, Maguire’s stock likely plummeted.
Despite his decline, Maguire remains a solid defender; his outstanding talent with the ball will help United’s build-up from the back under Ten Hag. To help him succeed in the Premier League, they have brought in Casemiro, perhaps another midfielder, and maybe even a goalie.
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