It is no news that the Manchester United senior team has been in a dysfunctional state after Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure. Man United have suffered an embarrassing churnover of managers, with no corresponding improvement in the team’s fortunes.
Erik Ten Hag, the newest coach employed to take the reins, obviously needs to overhaul the team. Even if other positions are neglected, one key position that needs his Midas touch is the center-back position. The team conceded 57 goals in the Premier League last season – the highest in the top seven.
With various talented and performing center-backs available for Man United to buy, settling for an option may be arduous. However, this list suggests suitable prospects to occupy the center-back position in Manchester United and perform excellently.
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1. Pau Torres
If Man United is serious about bolstering the center-back position, Pau Torres is unquestionably a formidable option that they ought to take into account.
The Spaniard was already on the club’s watchlist before the 2021–2022 season began, but after Raphael Varane was chosen, he was pushed to the sidelines. However, Varane’s sluggish start at Old Trafford should cause the club to rethink signing Pau Torres.
Currently, the Villarreal star is considered one of La Liga’s finest center-backs, thanks to his impressive defensive abilities and a stellar 2021/2022 campaign.
Pau is a regular for his Villarreal side and scored six goals in all competitions. Besides, he is a good dribbler and has an eye for pinpoint passes.
Tottenham Hotspur is also in the race to sign the 25-year-old. Apparently, it boils down to who will be able to pay his £55 million to £60 million release clause.
2. Lisandro Martinez
The Argentine is another addition that will prove effective for Ten Hag’s side. Lisandro played under Ten Hag during the latter’s time at Ajax, so he is already accustomed to his style of play.
Lisandro is a solid wall at the back. He is nicknamed “The Butcher of Amsterdam ” due to his ruthless and physical style of play.
Just like Virgil Van Dyke is to Liverpool, Ten Hag will need Lisandro’s services as the one whose physicality is like a rock to stop the opponents from getting further.
Besides, Lisandro Martinez is very versatile. Apart from the center-back position, Ten Hag can also use him in the midfield or left-back position to add that extra reinforcement when needed.
3. Jurrien Timber
Erik Ten Hag’s time at Ajax was a very successful one, culminating in the revelation of several players; Jurrien Timber is one of such revelations.
A graduate of Ajax’s Academy, the 21-year-old Dutch player was a regular at the Johan Cruijff Arena, featuring mainly as a center-back but also competent in other defensive positions. He is also a regular with his national team.
Highlighting his performances last season was the Marco van Basten Award naming him the Talent of the year.
Timber is a strong and fast-paced footballer with an eye for goals too. If Ten Hag is to build a team of the future, then this young defender should be included in the list.
4. Alessandro Bastoni
Coming out of the Atalanta BC youth system, Alessandro Bastoni joined Inter Milan in 2018 and was an instant hit for the club.
He has now had three seasons of regular football for the Italian giants in which he has won the Coppa Italia and the Serie A.
His performance amidst his consistency has set him on the radar of many clubs, especially Tottenham Hotspur with a link-up with his former boss, Antonio Conte still possible.
However, it will be a good decision for Man United if they can lure him to Old Trafford. This is because the defender possesses situational awareness when on the ball and is a good passer.
These abilities are important in opening up the stubborn defenses of the English Premier League teams, causing him to be a key asset for the Red Devils.
Marquinhos has been in Paris since 2013 and even if a move out of the French city seems not to be in view at the moment, there is still a likelihood that it can happen.
The 28-year-old central defender is a regular for his team, scoring five goals in the just-concluded season. In addition, he is fast with the ball and is also good with his head.
Captaining the team, his wealth of experience with PSG will be an asset for Manchester United if brought to the club. He has also won many laurels with PSG and will also be bringing that winning mentality – a motivation seriously needed at Old Trafford.
The listed defenders can significantly a Man United defence that has over the years gained infamy for leaking preventable goals.