According to Sky Sports, Manchester United are taking an interest in Dayot Upamecano.
This revisits a big question, do Manchester United need to sign a centre-back this summer?
The answer to that is ‘no’, but Upamecano is the only centre-back United should make an exception for.
Upamecano is arguably the best young defender in Europe. He is reportedly keen to leave RB Leipzig this summer and there is a scramble for his signature.
There are some players who are too talented to be ignored when they can provide an upgrade, and United are smart to keep abreast of the pursuit.
Upamecano is a powerhouse of a defender who is good on the ball, able to stride forward from defence, and he has been instrumental in RB Leipzig’s success this season.
He has averaged 3.2 tackles per game in the Champions League this season with his side reaching the quarter-final stages.
Sky report he has a £52 million release clause in his contract, which is good value for the 21-year-old, with Real Madrid and Manchester City also said to be keen.
United’s need for Upamecano is open to debate. But he ticks the boxes in terms of profile if we are looking to upgrade.
Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, and Phil Jones are all likely to be sold this summer. This means more depth is needed. As we have seen this season, a big squad is essential.
Upamecano is only 21 and is an investment for the future as much as right now.
Harry Maguire is 27, while Eric Bailly is 26 and Victor Lindelof 25. Upamecano can outlast them all.
Bailly’s injury issues mean there remains a question mark over him, as with young star Axel Tuanzebe.
The potential swap
Tuanzebe is the biggest reason against United spending big to sign Upamecano.
He is also the same profile, 22-years-old, with a high ceiling, capable of becoming a long-term United star.
But his season has not gone to plan due to injury, with Tuanzebe restricted to only two Premier League starts.
One option would be to send Tuanzebe on loan to RB Leipzig for a season, to take Upamecano’s place.
This might not be essential if United pay the release clause, but it could enable a deal to be done for an even cheaper price.
Tuanzebe fits the Leipzig profile, he’s young, talented, and would save the Germans the issue of having to scout and sign a replacement.
He could benefit from playing regularly at the club, something he couldn’t do at United even when he was fit this season.
At the end of the loan he would return to United as a better player, ready to fight for his place, and put us in an even stronger position defensively than ever, with Maguire, Lindelof, Bailly, Upamecano and Tuanzebe all then fighting for places.
- Newcastle targeting loan deal for Manchester United ace, prepared to cover 100% of wages
- What channel is Brentford v Manchester United on? Kick off time, live stream and team news
- Manchester United will need to move the ball quickly to bypass Brentford's top-tackler
- Rangnick says £50m man is set to miss Manchester United's next two Premier League games
- One of Manchester United's top manager targets gets easier as club contact replacement