If Manchester United’s defensive frailties weren’t clear throughout last season, the club’s pre-season action has emboldened them, underlined them and then highlighted them, before circling them multiple times.
Pre-season should be about re-establishing the balance of your side. It’s an opportunity to develop partnerships, establish patterns and find consistency. But this just hasn’t happened yet.
Against lowly opposition from Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, United have conceded nine goals and given their strikers a lot of work to do.
Nemanja Vidic’s injury problems are well documented. The Serbian international has had to sit out United’s summer tour thanks to fitness issues. There must be serious concerns over how many games he’ll be able to feature in over the course of the next year.
Then there’s Rio Ferdinand, who at 34-years-old, is in the Autumn of his career. I expect he’ll be phased out at United over the next two or so seasons.
There’s plenty of young defensive talent at Manchester United, but you get the feeling that signing(s) in this area are a must.
I can only hope that David Moyes is as aware of this issue as everybody else is. His continued pursual of Fabregas (and a host of other creative midfielder types) suggests not (though to be fair, United could also do with bolstering this area).
With Premier League football fast approaching, a quick solution is needed.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see Sports Direct News, link United to Borussia Dortmund’s much lauded defender Mats Hummels, even if I took the claims with a pinch of salt.
This isn’t the first time that United have been linked to Hummels, but with United’s need so pressing, there’s some chance that the stories could be true.
The 6 ft 4 in tall German centre-back cuts an imposing figure and at this stage in his career, has the know-how and ability to be a defensive lynch-pin for just about any club throughout Europe. There’s a reason why he’s been compared to players like Franz Beckenbauer.
He’ll fit into Manchester United nicely: he’s good at distributing from the back and isn’t afraid to come out of the defense to start attacks.
He would cost Manchester United ‘in excess of’ £25m, but the club has already shown a willingness to spend money this summer. Signing Hummels would not only satisfy a need, it would be a symbol of intent.
If there’s any truth to the claims, I only hope David Moyes is able to follow through.
What’s your take? Is Mats Hummels the solution to United’s defensive woes?
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