Manchester United

Former Player Expects Defensive Recruits For United

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It has again been a mixed start to the 2023/24 campaign for manager Erik ten Hag and his Manchester United side, and there are again plenty of off pitch issues that have become distractions in the press as the gaffer continues to try and rebuild the club after recent struggles and get us far more back on an upward curve.

There is no doubting that we continue to have some struggles and further improvement is still required, and former player and England centre half, Rio Ferdinand, has recently addressed our issues at the heart of defence as he sees them giving his own illustrious and successful playing career. With United having a mixed start to the year, the likes of will no doubt continue to have good odds on a strong end to the campaign, and if we do strenghten in the New Year, those odds should only improve.

Speaking recently to the Manchester Evening News, the 44 year old, 81 England capped defender, suggested that the club should look towards signing Lens’ Kevin Danso, and Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo to provide extra stability and strength in front of the goalkeeper.

Fans will understand Ferdinand focusing on defence, as Raphael Varane is proving himself to be quite injury prone, Lisandro Martinez has already needed surgery twice this year, and although he is still getting some playing time when Ten Hag’s options are limited, Harry Maguire’s face does not fit and his long term future remains massively in doubt. With it expected that both Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof will be departing when their contract expire next summer (we have a 12 month option on Lindelof), they are interesting suggestions.

“The boy at Lens, there’s one there, he’s good. The Uruguayan boy at Barcelona – Araujo. Whether he’s gettable or not, I think he’s brilliant. He’s an unreal centre half. He has every attribute to be perfect for the Premier League. I’d probably say he’s the standout, but whether he’s gettable or not, I don’t know.”

Fans may well remember Danso’s name, as the 25 year old used to play for Southampton and he was actually sent off against us four years ago back in August 2019, so any potential settling in period should be shorter given his previous experience.

With Varane and Martinez having fitness issues, few fans will not have noticed how our form turned last year when they were both ruled out for a number of games, so Ferdinand does raise a valid question here.

“I’ve always said this – to be a successful team, you need that foundation of a solid defence and to be able to pick similar players. I think you look at the teams that have won recently – Liverpool and Man City – they’ve had consistency in their backlines of players featuring, especially in important stages of the season. And maybe United haven’t been afforded that.”

He added.

“But Martinez has been a huge, huge loss. His personality, his character, his ability on the ball has been exactly what Ten Hag wants and United were at their best last season when those two were playing together. But, again, with every person who falls away and gets injured, there’s an opportunity for someone else and at the moment, Harry Maguire seems to have that shirt. Hopefully that form continues now.”

We will have to see what January brings.

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