Manchester United could be on the verge of experiencing a defensive shake-up next season.
Currently the team’s depth at centre-back is quite strong, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones starting while Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof are alternatives. Daley Blind and Eric Bailly are options as well, but the Ivorian remains sidelined due to injury. Nonetheless, that gives Jose Mourinho six alternatives to play at centre-back. Any manager would be pleased with that amount of depth, but not Mou. The Portuguese tactician is not happy, and will look to make improvements in the short-term future.
Following the loss against Newcastle United this past weekend, Mourinho acknowledged the team needs to spend in defenders, and has reportedly passed the message to the club’s officials. And according to a report from The Mirror, two players could be on their way out while other two might arrive next summer.
Which players would leave the team?
The aforementioned report indicated that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will leave the club during the upcoming summer. Jones’ case is quite strange. He has been quite consistent during most of the season, but he has been quite prone to commit mistakes as well. The best example is the recent loss against Tottenham, where the former Blackburn Rovers star scored a clumsy own goal.
Smalling’s case is far easier to analyse. The only reason the former Fulham defender has been starting of late is due to Bailly’s injury. He will likely return to the bench as soon as the Ivorian is fit. Especially considering Marcos Rojo has looked quite good when given the chance as well.
Which players would be potential arrivals?
Due to that, Mourinho would be looking to bring in two defenders. Based on reports, Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane are the two players Mou wants, but both will be difficult to get. Leicester want around £50 million to part ways with their star defender. And if we consider Manchester City want him as well, this might end up being a bidding war for the 24-year-old centre-back.
Varane’s case is even more complicated. First of all, the French international is a regular starter for Real Madrid. And considering he is only 24, all signs indicate Los Merengues want him to become the team’s cornerstone defender once Sergio Ramos retires. Varane’s value according to Transfermarkt sits at €40M, so it is entirely feasible to imagine Madrid asking around €80M to make him the most expensive defender in the world.
We will see if this ends up being just a rumour, or if United end up making aggressive bids to improve their defence next summer. But it seems the team MUST do something soon. And all signs indicate the team could be on the verge of another spending spree next summer, this time to strengthen the back line.