Manchester United’s summer transfer window, was, shall we say… forgettable… Edward Woodward had an absolute nightmare when it came to acquiring transfer targets; despite getting off to a fast start before the World Cup kicked off.
Sure, Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant all arrived, but the self-proclaimed Special One spent the summer’s remainder chasing centre-back shadows… From Harry Maguire to Toby Alderweireld, from Diego Godin to Yerry Mina, eventually, nobody came through the Old Trafford exit door to take their place at the heart of our defence.
Have you ever thought that United were barking up the wrong tree completely? Personally, I feel there have always been one or two more pressing needs than signing a new centre-back. Although one of those positions is a defensive one, the other is up the other end of the pitch. That’s where we’ll start.
Manchester United and right-wing…
The right-side of the field has often been the focal point of United’s attack over the years. David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo spring to mind. Over the last few years, though, the Reds have lacked that household name on that side of the field. In fact, they’re rather top heavy on the opposite flank.
Right now, the number one option is Juan Mata. The slow, small in stature, yet technically gifted Spaniard. That’s just not good enough, particularly as his preferred position is through the middle. This isn’t a knock on Mata, by the way. He’s an excellent player, just not a winger.
Names like Willian were rumoured. He would’ve been perfect. We all know how Mourinho loves the experienced attacker, particularly one who he has worked with previously. A deal never came to fruition. A real travesty.
People getting caught-up over me labelling Willian as world-class. He’s brilliant, and bringing him in while selling Martial would put us closer to City. I don’t think anyone can debate that point. #mufc
— OldTraffordFaithful (@OTFaithful) May 7, 2018
Solving the right-back issue…
Eric Bailly is excellent, Victor Lindelof ever-improving. Let’s show a little faith in them. The main issue is right-back. Luke Shaw is (hopefully) going to lock down that left-hand side, while on the opposite side of the defence, there is a criminally underrated problem brewing.
Antonio Valencia is decent, but he’s not getting any younger. At times last season, his unwillingness to bomb forward beyond his winger was alarmingly evident. Basically, the right-hand side is just a mess, particularly when the first-choice right-back at this point in time is wantaway Matteo Darmian. I think Mourinho missed a trick in letting Timothy Fosu-Mensah leave on loan, but I guess it’s all down to Dalot now.
Who knows when the man from Portugal is going to be fit. He comes in with a big reputation from a small sample size (six games, to be precise). It’s time for him to be thrown in at the deep end. Who knows whether he’ll sink or swim. Basically, he has one season to make his mark. If not, a more experienced player will no doubt be bought.
For now, though, it’s time to show a little faith in the centre-halves and take the attention away from them. Mourinho has far more pressing needs, but this is the squad he has until January at the very earliest…