According to multiple respected media outlets, Manchester United are reportedly looking for a right-back in the January transfer window.
The Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to add a new right-back to his squad to provide some competition to the ever present Aaron Wan-Bissaka, as per the Daily Mail, who name Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier as a target.
The Norwegian will be able to rotate at right-back with a new arrival providing some strength in depth in a position that has been a problem for United since Gary Neville’s retirement in 2011. The arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2019 has proved to be an excellent piece of business for the club. The Croydon born defender has impressed in his first 18 months at Old Trafford earning plaudits for his defensive ability in particular his one on one defending.
United’s summer defensive signings in 2019 made a significant difference to the defence with Manchester United having the second best defensive record in Europe last season, with 21 clean sheets in all competitions.
However, there are still questions over Wan-Bissaka’s attacking ability and if he contributes enough going forward for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United side. The United coaching staff have worked closely with Wan-Bissaka on the attacking aspects of his game, which we have seen glimpses of improvement this season with his excellent finish against Newcastle away and his excellent assist for Anthony Martial against Aston Villa last week.
Manchester United under Solskjaer’s guidance are mounting an unlikely title challenge going into the new year and an extra attack-minded right-back would benefit their squad for the second half of the season.
There are three players Manchester United could potentially bring in at right-back to challenge Wan-Bissaka. The three players are Manchester United academy graduate and prospect Ethan Laird, current defender Diogo Dalot on-loan at A.C Milan and Norwich City’s Max Aarons.
Another academy graduate given their debut by Solskjaer last season in the Europa League against F.K Astana. The Basingstoke born defender has been at United since he was 9-years-old and the academy staff have high hopes for the young defender breaking into the first team this season and developing into a key squad member.
Ethan Laird can see how Solskjaer has integrated academy graduates Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood into the first team squad in the last few seasons with hope that will be the next player to be given his chance. He will be looking to add to his 2 first team appearances this season and potentially would have been involved but for an unfortunate injury against Salford in October.
Physically, Laird has all the key components in the modern day right-back. He effectively uses both his speed and athleticism to push forward from right-back to provide an attacking threat down the right flank. He’s regarded for his ability to deliver accurate crosses and has an excellent range of passing when in the final third of the pitch. Laird has an impressive 4 assists and 1 goal in 18 appearances for Manchester United U23’s and has developed into a key player for Neil Wood’s side. Although, he is extremely impressive at U23 level and has not looked out of place on his two previous appearances perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look to integrate the talented young right back slowly into his first team. He still remains an excellent option for the Red Devils as a back-up right back option and would provide relative competition to first choice Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Big things were expected when Manchester United acquired the young Portuguese full back from FC Porto in the summer of 2018. However his Manchester United career has never really taken off due to injury, lack of form and a managerial change resulting in only 35 appearances.
Dalot is an attacking full-back who can be deployed as a left-back and a right-back. When deployed in his natural role of right back, he looks comfortable when he tucks in and reduces the numerical advantage of the opposition when the try to overload the centre. When in possession Dalot can operate like a right wing back where he has lots of pace to take players on and create one-on-one situations.
The young Portuguese defender has a good delivery and his crossing ability is a constant attacking threat to the opposition. Despite all his qualities Solskjaer does not seem to be a fan of the young Portuguese defender hence why he was allowed to join Italian giants AC Milan this season on a season long loan in order to gain first team football.
Dalot has only made a meagre 12 appearances during Solskjaer’s tenure as manager with the Norwegian not impressed with the defenders lack of aggressive and ability to take instruction a problem. However, Diogo Dalot is still only 21-years-old and is slowly gaining some form in Italy making 6 appearances so far this season for AC Milan. The Portuguese youngster could potentially force his way back into Solskjaer’s plans next season with an impressive season on loan in Milan.
Our friends at Sempre Milan have been keeping us up to date with everything Dalot.
Perhaps the most likely option for the Red Devils in this January transfer window is a move for Norwich City right-back Max Aarons, as per GOAL. Manchester United are reportedly interested in a deal in the January transfer window with a fee believed to be in the region of £20 million (valuation via Eurosport) and with Laird going to the Canaries on loan for the rest of the season in return.
The young right-back has played every game for the Canaries this season at they look to push for promotion back to the Premier League. United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rates the 20 year old full back very highly and the club looked into the possibility of a move during the summer window but nothing ever came to fruition. The impressive Max Aarons has amassed an impressive 106 appearances for the Canaries in three full seasons since making his debut in 2018 for the club. He has caught the eye of multiple clubs throughout Europe and was close to joining Barcelona in the summer transfer window before the deal collapsing due to Barcelona’s lack of finances to conclude the deal.
Aarons is a typical modern day right full back who is excellent defensively and offensively. He is built in the ideal mould for an attacking full back excelling going forward. He is renowned for his marauding runs from deep, using his agility and sharpness over the first few yards to beat opposing players with ease before delivering dangerous crosses to his teammates.
The England youngster has developed an excellent and productive partnership with Emiliano Buendia which has seen the Canaries top the Championship at this stage of the season as they chase promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could see the talented Canaries defender as a ready-made player to come into his Manchester United first team squad to challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back.
Aarons has shown his ability to play at the top level playing in 36/38 games for Norwich City in the 2019/20 season in which the Canaries got relegated. He would provide a different alternative at right back, particularly when Manchester United are struggling to break teams down with no natural width. The deal is obtainable during this window and would make sense for a Manchester United side who are potentially challenging for a Premier League title.