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Football News: The Entire Manchester United defence needs to be rebuilt

The Entire Manchester United defence needs to be rebuilt

While the whole Manchester United defence needs to be rebuilt, I don't think we will do it all in one summer. I think we will probably keep AWB to be back up / competition for Dalot next season, with either a new deal for him with him then being sold next summer, or no new deal and him leaving on a free in 2025.

With Dalot showing potential to be first choice and with so many other areas needing work I just don't see us moving AWB on and trying to find another RB this summer.

I do see us signing a new LB though. Something seems off with Malacia, the lack of clarity over what is happening with him just seems off to me, with the club being very clear on the issues with other players. While Shaw continues to pick up injuries, something that is only likely to increase as he gets older. He'll be 29 in the summer and isn't likely to be able to stay fit and in peak form into his early thirties.

We should be looking to sign a LB who can be first choice and challenge Shaw and even take his place off of him. There's been talk of Miguel Gutierrez from Girona who's had a great season, although the player I like the look of and who I think would make more sense is Rayan Ait-Nouri from Wolves. EPL proven, ideal age (22 turns 23 in the summer) and has arguably been the best LB in the league this season.

We could face an exodus at CB, Varane and Evans out of contract and both almost certainly leaving. While the futures of Maguire and Lindelof are both up for debate. Neither are good enough, both out of contract next summer (although there is a 1 year option for Maguire). Yet with Martinez's continued injuries and Kambwala being the only other CB option, I'd expect one of Maguire or Lindelof to stay.

For me it's a coin flip, whoever stays would be staying as 4th choice, possibly allowing Kambwala to go out on loan for a year to get first team experience. Lindelof is better on the ball, younger, and more mobile of the two of them. While Maguire has shown strong mentality to pick up his form this year, counts as homegrown, and could have his contract extension activated meaning if kept for next season we might still be able to get something for him in 2025. Pick your poison, really.

Like I said, neither are good enough to be first choice, but would be kept to be 4th choice (with two new CB's being signed this summer), and to avoid trying to change too much too quickly.

I understand the desire to maybe sign a 3rd CB like Tosin Adarabioyo, as he looks a better back up option than either Lindelof or Maguire. But the reality is that would likely be too much change too quickly. As a player who'd rarely play in a new squad with new teammates, he would struggle to develop the understanding to work as a unit like a defence needs. So, while technically a better player, he probably wouldn't be able to show it due to a lack of game time and ability to assimilate with the defenders around him. At least Maguire or Lindelof would know the players, be used to playing at Old Trafford and the demands of the manager (if EtH stays) .

Instability, especially in defence, only creates more problems. Ideally for me we would be signing two new CB's (Branthwaite and Todibo maybe) and a new LB, meaning we would likely see two maybe even three new players starting most weeks. Unfortunately, that probably means that players like AWB and one of Maguire or Lindelof will need to stay to avoid too much change. Although both would likely be replaced in 2025.

My ideal defensive options next year would be Dalot, AWB, Todibo, Maguire, Kambwala, Branthwaite, Martinez, Shaw, Ait-Nouri, and Malacia. Then in 2025 I'd look to move on AWB and bring in a RB replacement, let Maguire leave and hopefully have Kambwala ready to be 4th choice. Then let one of Malacia or Shaw leave while maybe promoting Harry Amass to the first team squad on a permanent basis, while probably sending him on loan (he's just turned 17 and I believe he can't go on loan until he's 18).

Maybe if there is an option to sign an older experienced CB to be 5th choice, much like we did with Evans this year. This would very much depend on who is available and how Martinez has coped next season with injury. If he continues to struggle with injury next season, then we might have to look at signing another CB and maybe letting him go. Which would be a massive shame, as he has the right attitude and mentality, and is one of the best CB's in the league when fit.

He also has that rare quality of being able to lift the performances of his teammates and those around him. He hasn't previously had injury issues, and the ones he's facing now are born out of impact injuries and typical struggles recovering from them rather than muscular injuries. Which suggests that he can cope with the physical demands of the league and has just been unlucky. That said, you don't know how he will come back after pretty much an entire season out injured.

Written by Shappy April 09 2024 16:18:56


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