Manchester United’s problems at centre-back were exposed once again this weekend in their 1-0 loss against Newcastle United. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling formed the partnership at the heart of defence, yet they struggled to show why they should be an important part of this team.
The duo did not enjoy one of their best games and many Manchester United fans feel their time at the club might be over when the season ends. It is highly speculative talking in such manner about the two Englishmen, yet Manchester United definitely should look to strengthen next summer in this position. We look at the players who could improve this team if they were to sign for Manchester United before the start of the next season.
There were even some rumours about this on Tuesday. Reports from London suggest Alderweireld and Mauricio Pochettino are not on great terms recently and that the Belgian could leave Spurs this season. If you consider how many problems United have at centre-back and that they could offer him much better wages, it is not unthinkable to see Alderweireld in a red shirt next season.
Alderweireld proved to be an incredibly important part of this Spurs side and should he leave, Pochettino would have a very tough task of replacing him with an equally good footballer. Alderweireld proved in recent seasons to be a player of high quality both in terms of his defending and on-the-ball skills. He is very reliable player whose positioning gives him the luxury of not going into unnecessary tackles. Simply put, he offers stability whether it is about starting attacks or classic defending. He really has potential of becoming the cornerstone of Manchester United defence.
Okay, let’s set things straight right away. This will be a huge task for any team next summer, as the Slovakian centre-back just joined Inter Milan and thoroughly shined. That is why many teams will want to see him become part of their side and Manchester United should be one of them. Skriniar showed right from the off that he is going to be a great signing for the 2010 Champions League winners.
His composure both on and off the ball has been much praised, while his pure defensive skills make him very desirable player. He does not tackle too often, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It means his positioning is astute and he reads the game very well. Skriniar’s passing range is also good and at 23 he can still improve in many aspects. He would be pricey, but United are a club that can pay what Inter ask for.
In a time when not many centre-backs of the highest quality are available, it could be pointed out that Koulibaly is one of those that can bring a lot to the table. The technicality of his performances is necessary for a modern centre-back, while his size makes him potentially very good for a Premier League side. Not to mention Jose Mourinho would love to have a centre-back that tall that is also secure with the ball at his feet.
He has been at Napoli for some years now and if the Partenopei finally win Serie A, he might feel ready for new challenges. And what better challenge there is than playing where Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic did?