Three centre-backs Manchester United could sign this summer
It is not a secret that Manchester United need to bolster their defensive depth for the upcoming 2018-19 season. The Red Devils have a lot of attacking options but lack clarity and variety at the back.
With that in mind, here are three suggestions in case Manchester United decide to bolster their centre-back depth in the summer.
Let's start with a player that Jose Mourinho absolutely loves, and one that already worked with him at Real Madrid: Raphael Varane. The French international definitively fits the mould of what United needs at the back, because he is a relatively young player at 24-years-old who already knows what is like to perform, start, and win at the highest level. He has 13 caps with the French National Team, and has also won the UEFA Champions League three times with Real Madrid. He is a top-tier defender who was world-class potential and is slowly reaching that peak playing for Los Merengues.
However, there are a few concerns when it comes to his potential signature with Manchester United. Real Madrid would likely command a massive fee for a transfer since he is viewed as a cornerstone for years to come in the Santiago Bernabeu outfit. And while he has enough potential to be a world-class player, he is not there yet, and no one knows how he would adjust to the Premier League.
Varane seems like the perfect choice considering Mourinho knows him and has what it takes to make him a star at the next level. But if they fail to make a push for the Real Madrid star, it would not hurt to look towards another French defender currently making strides in Spain. We are talking about Samuel Umtiti, who currently dazzles as one of the best defenders in LaLiga. Umtiti is also very young since he is just 24 as well, but out of the potential three alternatives, he seems to be the best fit. His playing style would certainly fit in nicely at Old Trafford.
Umtiti is a player who is heralded as a technical, composed, and skilled centre-back. He is similar to Eric Bailly and, if we had to compare him to a recent United legend, we could say he has a similar playing style to Rio Ferdinand, but also has the toughness of Nemanja Vidic. Umtiti is not fazed by pressure, either. He should be a starter for France in the upcoming World Cup, starred at Lyon, and now plays for FC Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world. United would have to move quickly, though, as several teams are beginning to consider a move for Umtiti next summer due to his release clause of ONLY £54million. To put things into context, he would be cheaper than Virgil van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte.
Varane and Umtiti would be clear-cut upgrades, but what about looking inside the Premier League for a reinforcement? One viable alternative could be making a push for Alfie Mawson, the Swansea central defender who is widely considered as one of the best centre-backs in the league despite the fact that he plays for one of the worst teams in the competition.
Mawson is 24-years-old, just like Varane and Umtiti, but he is the younger of the three since he turned 24 only a few weeks ago. He is a reliable aerial threat, can pose an attacking threat on set-piece situations and, most importantly, he could be a cheaper alternative since Transfermarkt has him valued at only €12M, in comparison to the €40M of both Umtiti and Varane. Plus, he would form a great partnership with Bailly since he is a strong defender who could draw comparisons to Nemanja Vidic based on his playing style.
It remains to be seen whether United will make a move for a defender or not. But there is no question any of these three alternatives would fit perfectly on the team.