Manchester United and Barcelona are reportedly after promising PSG defender Marquinhos, with rumours stating they could eventually become a part of a bidding war to win the Brazilian over. Marquinhos, 22, moved to PSG for a massive fee after busting onto the scene with Roma. Versatile, quick and clever, Marquinhos can play both right-back and centre-back, and with PSG’s massive squad, he found himself in both positions quite the plenty. However, with David Luiz leaving for pastures more blue (Chelsea), he looks likely to join Thiago Silva in the starting lineup.
A fine young defender, it is easy to see why both Barcelona and United want him on their books. Barcelona purchased Samuel Umtiti and United Eric Bailly this summer, and Marquinhos could prove to be a long-term partner for one of those two. In United’s case, Marquinhos would be a natural replacement for Phil Jones, fighting for a place in the United side and providing the fourth source of competition that looks needed in the side. In addition, he provides more on the ball than both Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling, and more defensively than Daley Blind, who is still a work in progress at centre-back despite showing brilliant qualities on a consistent basis.
Assuming Bailly and Smalling are, tactically, very similar players, United then has four main combinations to play at the centre of defence. Against two physical strikers, Bailly and Smalling could play together, and against two strikers, when United has midfield advantage without Blind, Bailly or Smalling could partner Marquinhos. Bailly or Smalling could then pair Blind against one striker, and in the smallest games, Blind would pair Marquinhos to allow quick transitions from the back.
That being said, the report from the Mirror that is touting the move states that Barcelona is willing to pay £50 million for him, which is a very steep fee for a defender who I’m not sure can justify the fee. Bailly, to me, looks a better prospect at £30 million. In addition, Chelsea reportedly enquired for Marquinhos before buying David Luiz, and PSG replied with a firm ‘no’, which tells me that they likely don’t want to sell him. Selling Luiz in the first place is somewhat of a crediting statement for Marquinhos, who could find himself quite settled at PSG this season.
That being said, he could provide presence and versatility at United, perhaps taking over from Timothy Fosu-Mensah as the backup right-back (allowing the Dutchman to move into midfield) and creating more effective squad rotation. His presence at right-back could also allow Matteo Darmian to move to left-back and force the woeful Marcos Rojo out of the club, creating a more effective squad with fewer players. He seems more needed at United than Barcelona, who won’t value him as a right-back (they tend to play midfielders there) and have four solid options in the centre of defence.
Marquinhos would undoubtedly be a great addition to the United squad, but with the fee touted in comparison to his quality and PSG’s reluctance to sell, he likely won’t be joining in the near future. That being said, after all, the events related to Paul Pogba’s signature and the fee paid, anything could happen, that’s the reality with United now, and it’s truly refreshing.