With the left-back position proving problematic in his absence, how long can Manchester United leave it before deciding that Luke Shaw either needs replacing or given some serious competition?
Shaw hasn’t featured since picking up a hamstring injury against Crystal Palace in the third game of the season, it has resulted in club captain Ashley Young becoming a regular in the side, this has been a recurring theme in recent years.
As painful as it is to admit, Liverpool are flying right now and a big part of their attacking threat and defensive solidity comes from the flying Scotsman Andrew Robertson.
Shaw has been plagued with injuries during his time at Old Trafford, but Robertson has set the benchmark, providing more assists last season than Shaw has in his career.
Here are five left-backs that could make his spot their own, if Shaw fails to step up when he returns from injury.
With Solskjaer eager to build a young side around talented British youngsters, could we be set for another pursuit of one of Leicester’s prized assets?
Chilwell has grown in maturity with every passing season and he very rarely misses games. Leicester’s left-back would slot in next to his old mate Harry Maguire, which could also boost the performances of the worlds most expensive defender.
The problem for United is they may have to engage in a bidding war to secure Chilwell’s signature with the likes of Chelsea also monitoring the 22-year-olds future according to the Daily Mail.
Another stumbling block could be the length still to run on Chilwell’s Leicester contract, which runs until 2024, meaning that the Foxes wouldn’t be under any pressure to drop their asking price.
The German left-back at 28-years-old isn’t necessarily the ideal age profile Solskjaer would want, but with him entering his prime years, his consistency and goalscoring contributions would be welcomed.
In six Bundesliga games this season, Halstenberg has one goal and two assists, he loves to bomb forward, which would give United’s attack a different outlet. He already seems set to improve on the 4 goals and 8 assists in 37 games in all competitions last season.
Halstenberg scored his first goal for the senior national team with a rasping first time piledriver into the top corner against Northern Ireland.
At 6ft1, he would also have the advantage over Shaw when it comes to winning aerial duels.
Not as defensively resolute as his compatriot Gabriel Heinze, Tagliafico would certainly give United’s attackers chances with his delivery from wide areas.
The 27-year-old was ever present during Ajax’s dream Champions League run last season, another stellar campaign could see his value soar and the competition for his signature heat up.
In 15 games this season, Tagliafico has four goals and three assists, but it is his defensive stats in this seasons Champions League, which shows his ability to be the all action left-back Manchester United crave.
In two group stage games, the Argentine is averaging 4.5 tackles, 5.5 interceptions, and 2.5 clearances per game.
The Moroccan international would be similar to United’s Diogo Dalot, more comfortable attacking then defending, but Hakimi has already played both left and right-back as well as left and right-wing this season.
Despite not getting the chance to impress at Real Madrid, the 20-year-old is flourishing with Borussia Dortmund and has started the season in fine form.
In 11 matches in all competitions, Hakimi has four goals and one assist, which highlights his desire to get forward and produce goal-scoring contributions.
With Aaron Wan-Bisska improving United’s right-back position and Maguire giving the backline some much-needed authority, Hakimi would know that he has sufficient cover behind him if he galloped up the pitch.
What about Brandon Williams?
Williams is certainly getting closer to featuring in the Premier League after first-team action against Rochdale and a start away to AZ Alkmaar/
On too many occasions already this season, Solskjaer has opted to continue with under-performing experienced players, who could be playing for their futures instead of the clubs promising academy talent. Perhaps he needs to be bolder with Williams?
Shaw knows that Ashley Young is only being used in his absence on a temporary basis, when the former Southampton man returns from injury, he will expect to reclaim the starting spot.
And there are not many left-backs who can do this, an outrageous individual run showcased by Williams for England’s under-20s.
There is an argument to say Shaw may have become too complacent, but if Solskjaer gave Williams a run in the side, it could be the shock to the system Shaw needs to realise that his place isn’t assured.
Williams may be raw and make mistakes at times, but the England under-20 international is a top prospect and will leave it all out on the pitch for his beloved United. He’s knocking on the door, it may be time for the Norwegian to answer, and he could save United millions.
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