Manchester United’s defensive injuries have left the club considering emergency solutions.
The MEN report United are exploring a potential loan move to bring in a centre-back.
This comes after Harry Maguire’s hip injury, adding him to the casualty list which includes Marcos Rojo, Axel Tuanzebe, and Eric Bailly.
It is a farcical situation of bad luck, and seeing Chris Smalling out on loan at Roma without a recall option does not help.
The loan market is not easy, but any situation which leaves Phil Jones as a starter for United is right to be categorised as an emergency, as we saw this week against City.
There are other solutions
A loan move can be avoided. PremierInjuries.com projects Tuanzebe, Bailly and Rojo will all be back by January 25, the date of the second leg against City. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, also lined up for the same return date, could fill in as an emergency there too.
So we just need to get to that point. Here is a look at how United can manage it.
1) United could also experiment with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at centre-back and Diogo Dalot at right-back. He has the raw defensive skills to be a success in the position.
2) Try a desperate move to put Nemanja Matic at centre-back. Jose Mourinho did this once before. It was not ideal, but it’s an option and he has the height. A drawback is the gap this would leave in midfield.
3) Di’Shon Bernard is one of three youth options United should consider. He did well against Astana in his start, discarding the unfortunate own goal. It is better for United to develop him, than try Jones who is going nowhere fast. Max Taylor is another option.
4) Teden Mengi might be even better than Bernard. The 17-year-old is United’s brightest defensive youth prospect. Strong in the air and a quick reader of the game, Mengi is already a regular for the under-23s. Throw him in and watch him flourish.
None of those options take your fancy? As risky as Jones? The loan market it is then…
Who could we sign on loan?
Landing a loan player in January is going to be tough. You end up with somebody else’s cast-off. And they are usually unwanted for a reason.
Clubs, particularly those in England, will also be unlikely to want to do United favours, considering our finances, they will want a sale if possible.
Here is a look at three plausible players who could tick the boxes of being available and able to do a job.
Juan Jesus. Roma owe us a favour for Chris Smalling, and the Brazilian has played just three Serie A games this season. The 28-year-old could fit as a stop gap.
Daniele Rugani. The 25-year-old Juventus defender has seen his chances limited by Matthijs de Ligt. He is a seven-time capped Italian international and a loan may suit Juventus rather than an outright sale.
Ronald Araujo. 20-year-old Barcelona talent made his debut for the first team in October, but hasn’t featured since. United did a good job developing Gerard Pique for Barcelona, perhaps they will let us have Araujo on a short-term deal.
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