Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to sign a central defender at the club this summer after the defence did not perform to the best of their abilities, despite recovering from conceding 54 goals in the Premier League alone during the 2018/19 season, and conceding just 36 goals in the 2019/20 season, becoming the third best defence in the league – conceding one goal more than Manchester City and three more than reigning champions Liverpool.
It has been suggested that United will be seeking to sign a winger, a central midfielder and a defender this summer. Lots of names have been linked to the club this summer. On Monday, I published an article which talked about five other options for the right-wing position other than Jadon Sancho, which seemed to be well received. This articles will talk about five different defenders that could be good for United sign this summer. Some of them have been linked to the club already, some have not.
Here are five options that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could pursue to actually sign a central defender this summer…
Dayot Upamecano, 21, RB Leipzig (right-footed)
The 21-year-old Frenchman has been linked to United already this summer and was targeted by the club whilst still a teenager with United not actually ending up signing the player. Granted, he is not left-footed but he would be an upgrade to United’s defence. Upamecano plays in a similar position as Maguire at United, on the left side of the central defence, despite being right-footed. His attributes tick all the boxes though and him signing for United would start to address some problems.
Contracted until the summer of 2023, the 21-year-old will be on the transfer wish lists of many clubs around Europe. He signed his last contract extension at he end of July 2020. During the course of the 2019/20 season, which saw RB Leipzig reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, defeated 3-0 by finalists Paris Saint-Germain, Upamecano made a total of 38 appearances for his club, scoring no goals and adding two assists. He can play in either central defensive position, also as a defensive midfielder, although he did not play in that position during the course of the season.
Pau Torres, 23, Villarreal (left-footed)
The Spaniard is one of the most sought-after players in Europe this summer and has already been linked to United. With Solskjaer seemingly seeking a left-footed defender this summer, having been linked to Nathan Ake and Gabriel Magalhaes. Torres is described as a textbook Spanish defender with good distribution, is comfortable on the ball and gets involved in buildup play. Torres has also been likened to former United and current Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique.
Torres is contracted until the summer of 2024, signing his last contract in October 2019. During the course of the 2019/20 season, the 23-year-old made a total of 36 appearances for his club, scoring two goals and two assists. The player could be available for less than £50 million this summer, which would be a big investment for United but they would be getting a defender who could quickly become a competent defender at the club and a player that could help United lift trophies.
Alessio Romagnoli, 25, AC Milan (left-footed)
The Italian is the oldest player in this article but at 25 still has a lot to do in the game. His is the captain of Milan and his leadership, at the back, would be a great addition for United. Romagnoli is aggressive, commanding and authoritative and has an excellent passing range and is often looking to break down the opposition by breaking down passes and distributing the ball forwards to put his team on the attack. This type of player could work well alongside Harry Maguire at United.
His current contract will expire in the summer of 2022, signing his last contract in the summer of 2018. There is a chance his club will be sitting down with him to renew his contract, but that could be something United could thwart if they had interest in the player this summer. The 25-year-old can play in either central defensive position, also filling in at left-back, should he need to. During the 2019/20 season, the player made a total of 39 appearances, scoring one goal.
Dan-Axel Zagadou, 21, Borussia Dortmund (left-footed)
The Frenchman plays for Borussia Dortmund, so because of the Jadon Sancho transfer seemingly faltering, United might not want to start negotiations with this player. That said, the player does not see any reason to leave the German club this summer, despite his contract expiring in the summer of 2022. United might have many other options themselves regarding this position, and Zagadou might not even be on their list, although based on the future he could have, he should be.
That said, his injury problems could be a concern, which is unfortunate. He seems to have suffered a few knee related injuries recently, which might suggest an underlining problem for the future. During the 2019/20 season, Zagadou made a total of 22 appearances for his club, scoring one goal and one assists. He played a total of 26 minutes for his club in the final two matches of the season, returning from his latest knee injury. The played is said to be extremely strong, robust and has an aerial presence at the back, which would be good for United moving forward.
Victor Nelsson, 21, FC Copenhagen (right-footed)
The Danish youth international has a good future ahead of him. He would be considered as the wild card addition in this article purely based on how he played when United faced FC Copenhagen in the quarter final of the UEFA Europa League earlier this month. United struggled to get the better of their opposition in that first match in Germany, needing extra time and a penalty to beat them. Nelsson played well in that match and really threw himself into challenges and blocks to give his side the defensive advantage.
The 21-year-old is contracted until the summer of 2024 at his club, so they have no reason to sell but a move to United could be a good one for the player. During the 2019/20 season, Nelsson made 54 appearances for his club, not scoring a single goal but adding one assist. Mainly a central defender, Nelsson can also play in the defensive midfield position, as well as the central midfield position, although has not played in either midfield role during the course of the season.
Written by John Walker