How well set are Manchester United long term at centre-back? Even with Harry Maguire’s arrival, there should be no room for complacency.
Not when there is a potentially world class player available at £50 million.
Dayot Upamecano has a chance to become one of the very best, and proved his quality again last night for RB Leipzig in a 0-0 draw with Bayern Munich.
He nullified a prolific Robert Lewandowski, making eight clearances and four interceptions, while the striker managed just one shot on target.
The Mail report Upamecano has a £50 million release clause in his contract, while Bayern themselves are keen, along with Barcelona.
We may have our own Upamecano with Axel Tuanzebe. Or even Teden Mengi in the youth ranks.
But that does not mean the club should just ignore one of the best central defenders in Europe.
When a player like Upamecano is available, you sign him up and tell the rest to compete. The Frenchman is only 21-years-old and could be a great long term option.
A Bundesliga.com profile this season asked if he is the world’s best young centre-back, and compared his style to 1998 World Cup winner Marcel Desailly.
Teammate Timo Werner said: “I’ve not seen a faster centre-back, and Dayot has an unbelievable physique.”
At United, Tuanzebe can still have his say this season, along with Eric Bailly. They need to be shown trust.
If their fitness struggles continue between now and May though, in the case of Bailly in particular, United should look to upgrade.
Upamecano, over an injury prone centre-back in Bailly who will miss part of next season because he is off to the AFCON, would be an improvement currently, unless the United man can prove us otherwise.
Difficult deal to do
This could become a moot point if interest from Bayern and Barcelona is accurate.
United’s situation, facing a third season in a row out of the Champions League, makes it tough to sign players over these clubs.
At present, United should just be monitoring Upamecano, in comparison to what Tuanzebe, Bailly, and even Victor Lindelöf contribute over the second half of the season.
You can never have too many top quality centre-backs, and our defence has not clicked this season as we hoped it might. There’s room for improvement, especially when a player like the young Frenchman comes along.
Upamecano is younger and cheaper than linked star Kalidou Koulibaly, 28, [Mail] and a better long term option if we do move for a centre-back.
Attacking positions should be the transfer priority, but it could be different by May. Upamecano is worth watching.
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