Report makes claim why Manchester United pulled out of race to sign Upamecano

Bayern Munich confirmed the signing of RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano last week.

Upamecano was a name Manchester United were linked with, including by the Times back in October.

With his big move being confirmed on the same day United struggled in defence against relegation-battling West Brom, some fans might be wondering why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t in for him.

A report by ESPN claims that Solskjaer wants a left-footed centre-half in the summer – and Upamecano is right-footed.

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Solskjaer apparently feels that a left-footed central defender would add greater balance to his backline.

United don’t have one after Marcos Rojo’s January departure to join Boca Juniors.

That requirement brings reported target Sven Botman at Lille into view a touch more sharply.

The 21-year-old Dutchman is a left-footer who has helped put Christophe Galtier top of Ligue 1, a point ahead of Paris Saint-Germain after 25 games.

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Less excitingly, it also helps explain why Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings is also reportedly on United’s radar.

The quality of the defender has to take precedence over which foot he prefers, of course.

Upamecano has huge potential but his displays in Leipzig’s 5-0 loss to United and midweek 2-0 defeat to Liverpool indicate he is still a player with plenty to learn.

Harry Maguire is currently United’s left centre-half. That’s a role he’s even played in a back three with England so he’s clearly comfortable there.

Rojo’s United career is also a cautionary tale to some degree.

A large part of his appeal to Louis van Gaal was the fact was a left-footer who could play at left-back too.

The way it didn’t work out for Rojo at United underlines that it’s more important to get the right man, even if he is indeed right-footed.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.