Leny Yoro – The generational defender Manchester United must sign

Manchester United’s pursuit of a new central defender has been well-documented coming into this summer’s transfer market.

French veteran Raphaël Varane has left the club following the expiry of his contract.

The legendary World Cup winner spent three seasons at Old Trafford having joined from Real Madrid in 2021 – where he had previously spent a glorious trophy-laden ten years.

Varane, 31, generally performed impressively for United, when fit, and was seen as one of their most important players – but sadly he did tend to miss chunks of the season with various fitness issues – and couldn’t be fully relied upon anymore.

So, United will now be in the market for at least one replacement.

There have been plenty of names already linked such as young Everton star Jarrad Branthwaite, Ligue 1’s Nice centre-half Jean-Clair Todibo, Gleison Bremer of Juventus – and more recently, Bayern Munich’s Dutch defensive linchpin, Matthijs de Ligt – who previously played under Erik ten Hag at former club Ajax.

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All of the above names could prove to be very solid signings for United – but a name that stands out on it’s own is that of 18-year-old Lille star Leny Yoro.

The French youngster has emerged as one of the most sought after young talents in Europe, having enjoyed an excellent breakout season for his club.

As reported by Marca on June 5, The Red Devils have supposedly submitted an offer close to €60 million.

On Thursday evening, David Ornstein of The Athletic reported that both United – and their rivals Liverpool – were ‘actively pursuing a deal’ to lure the French teenager to the Premier League.

Yoro, has just 12-months left on his current deal, and, if no resolution is found – could leave for free next summer.

The young Raphael Varane

Last season, Yoro, a tall, fast defender, was a key part of a Lille defence that had the joint third-best defensive record in Ligue 1 – with just 34 goals conceded.

Compared by many to a ‘young Raphaël Varane’ – securing the signature of Yoro would be seen as a massive coup if United were indeed to secure his services.

However, European Champions Real Madrid are still viewed as big favorites to snap up this precarious talent.

If Madrid were to get any potential deal done, it would evoke memories of their swoop for Varane all those years ago – back in June 2011 – when the Spanish giants convinced the young Lens defender to swap Ligue 1 for La Liga for a fee of just €11 million.

It was only after an intervention from compatriot Zinedine Zidane that swayed Varane to choose Madrid over Manchester – with legendary United coach Sir Alex Ferguson also keenly tracking the youngster at the time.

Having missed out on Varane, United then opted to pursue up-and-coming  Blackburn Rovers defender Phil Jones.

Varane would eventually become a ‘Red’ ten years later, however by then, many felt he was past his brilliant best.

Things could have worked out very differently but for Zidane’s reported mediation.

United won’t want to miss out again – with Leny Yoro seen as the latest generational talent to come out of France – he would represent a huge statement signing, and could be the perfect addition to the twenty-time English champions’ defence.

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