As reported by Fabrizio Romano and Ed Aarons of The Guardian, Manchester United are currently in the market for a new centre-back.
With the transfer window drawing to a close in just over a month, it seems Ed Woodward and co. have decided it is time to put their foot down and get on with business. With the club having advanced discussions with Ajax for attacking midfielder Donny Van de Beek, it seems the next target is likely to be a central defender. The question remains, who would suit United the best?
The obvious main target for the Red Devils is Villarreal’s 23-year-old starlet Pau Torres. The ball-playing anchor who stands at 6 ft 3 is exactly what United need, bringing a left footed centre-back to Old Trafford for the first time since Marcos Rojo. United’s other options such as Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones have looked far from competent at times.
WhoScored.com lists Torres’ main weakness as aerial duels, which shouldn’t be much of an issue alongside Maguire whose main strength is just that. The Manchester United captain won 176 aerial duels in the 19/20 campaign, only losing out 71 times. The Spaniard made his senior debut in 2016 for the Yellow Submarines, becoming the first Villarreal-born player to debut for the club in 13 years. He cemented his place into the Villarreal side over the 19/20 season, going on to play every minute of the La Liga campaign, finishing in 5th place.
Torres received his first call-up to the Spanish national team in October 2019 for the double header UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying games against Norway and Sweden. The Spaniard later went on to make his debut in a 7-0 qualifying win against Malta, scoring within a minute of replacing Sergio Ramos. Torres is reported to have a £45m release clause, with United’s interest in the player thought to be just a consideration at this moment in time. The balance in a Maguire-Torres partnership is something that I dream of, being my personal favourite defensive target this transfer window.
Another target the Manchester giants have their eye on is French teenager Benoît Badiashile from Monaco. The 19 year-0ld, 6 ft 4 mountain is said to be one of the best young prospects in European football, with Monaco adamant that Badiashile stays unless United make a ‘Martial-like offer’ for the Frenchman. According to Mohamed Bouhafsi,
Monaco recently rejected a £22m offer for the player, with manager Niko Kovac declaring Badiashile vital to his plans and that all bids be rejected. In the Ligue 1 side’s opening fixture of the 20/21 season, the young centre-half netted the equalizer in a 2-2 draw to Reims. A week later, he recorded the winning goal & a clean sheet in a 1-0 away win at Metz, averaging an impressive 7.9 rating across the two games. If Manchester United are looking to acquire Badiashile this summer, it would seem they need to act quickly as Wolves are also interested in the player. Similarly to Torres, Badiashile is also left-footed, who would offer balance and reassurance to the Manchester United back-line.
Most United fans, including myself would be more comfortable with Torres taking his talents to Manchester this summer. He offers more experience, playing on the international stage and vital playing time in a competitive La Liga side. Furthermore, as Monaco are reported to be holding out for a ‘Martial-like offer’, both players would be available for around the £45m mark. It’s clear that Torres would offer much more bang for the buck, having experience on the international stage for Spain and vital playing time in a competitive La Liga side, fighting for a Champions League spot.
Which option would you prefer, or are there different targets you think the club should consider? Let us know!