One of the few positions where Manchester United have not improved in recent years is the right-back role. Antonio Valencia has been serviceable during the current season, but we must be honest. The Ecuador international is not a natural right-back. And at times struggles defensively, something that’s key considering the positive attitude of the team in most matches. Considering Rafael da Silva is no longer in the team since a few years and knowing there is not a natural replacement on the squad, Jose Mourinho needs to bolster the right side of the defensive line.
And there is a name that has been linked with the The Red Devils in recent hours. We are talking about no other than Thomas Meunier, a Belgian right-back who is currently playing for Ligue 1 giants PSG in France.
According to several reports all over Europe, Manchester United are keen to make a move for Meunier since he would fill a number of needs for the team. First and most importantly, the Belgium international is a natural right-back so he would instantly represent an upgrade over Valencia, especially on the defensive end of the pitch. But Meunier is no slouch on the attacking end, either. He tends to push the lines forward in the Belgian team, and constantly assists or scores when playing for them.
Why Does Meunier Want To Leave PSG?
The main reason why Meunier wants to leave PSG is the presence of Dani Alves. The Brazilian is the clear first-choice for Unai Emery. That has relegated Meunier to a secondary role in the French giants. The problem, however, is that Meunier is certainly good enough to start in almost every team in the world. He already won the starting job on the right flank in the Belgian side, and he is versatile as well. Meunier can operate both as a right-back or a right midfielder depending on the situation.
That last point has some relevance if we put Meunier in a potential starting XI on a United shirt. Mourinho has been using a three-man defensive line in the past few matches, but he started the season with a 4-2-3-1 tactic. Meunier be a perfect fit for both systems. Valencia has done a good job this season, but the Belgian is younger, taller, stronger, and better defensively. Valencia would be an excellent back-up to have on the bench, and the (potential) arrival of Meunier would certainly make the team’s overall defence stronger.
One area where Meunier is surprisingly strong is his scoring ability. He has three goals and two assists in six Ligue 1 appearances this season for PSG, and also has five goals in 19 matches with the Belgian National Team. Those are impressive scoring numbers for a defender, and certainly gives him even more value going forward.
Do Manchester United Have a Real Shot To Sign Him?
At this moment, it is not clear whether PSG want to sell the Belgian international or not. But all signs indicate United should, at least, kick the tires on a potential move for the 26-year-old. Considering defenders reach their best years between the ages of 29 and 33, Meunier could end up living his best years in a United jersey – if he joins the team, of course.
He might end up being expensive, but that’s how the market goes these days. There is no doubt United must move quickly if Meunier suddenly becomes available. He is simply too good to not consider at least making an offer for him.