Solskjaer's comments on Mengi show why Manchester United may not need a new centre-back

Manchester United fans have been excited about Teden Mengi for a while now. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s latest comments have done nothing to quell expectation.

Given Axel Tuanzebe’s injury problems, Mengi could leapfrog his former U23 teammate this season. And from there, anything is possible.

United may be well stock at centre-back, but talk continues that another defender could arrive this summer.

As reported by the Manchester Evening News, Dayot Upamecano is on United’s wish list.

While RMC Sport claimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to bring Benoit Badiashile to Old Trafford.


Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Both players would be fine additions, but neither looks likely to arrive this month. And that is not a bad thing.

Mengi could already be ahead of Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo; while Eric Bailly is yet to prove he can stay fit for a whole season.

Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Bailly are the first-choice options for now. But do United really need a new young defender to challenge them when they have one of the best in their own ranks?

“Ajax made Matthijs De Ligt captain when he was 18,” the United boss told BBC Sport. “Teden Mengi has something special in him.’

That piece of magic that only the very best players possess needs to be nurtured wisely.

Could save United millions

Bringing in another defender is only going to push Mengi back when he should be striding forward.

No one is suggesting Mengi should be a first-choice centre-back week in, week out. Yet he deserves chances to impress and they would be severely limited if either Upamecano or Badiashile arrives.

It is not often a player of Mengi’s quality comes through and United know exactly what they have with him. He doesn’t need a loan move to prove his worth.

He needs outings in the cups and in certain league games. He needs to work closely with Maguire, Lindelof and United’s other first-team stars every day.

In time, he could save United a considerable amount of money. Money that should be invested a lot further forward.

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Vincent is the Senior Managing Editor of Freshered. He was previously Head of Sixth Form at a secondary school in Kent, where he worked with hundreds of 16 to 19-year-olds over eight years.