Manchester United look set for a busy summer. The signing of Donny van de Beek had only just been confirmed when talk turned to a move for a new centre-back.

It wouldn’t be a summer transfer window without a defender arriving at Old Trafford. After all, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have all signed over the last three years and another could follow.

According to ESPN, United are interested in Dayot Upamecano and the Frenchman would be a brilliant addition. But there is a problem. Why would one of the best young centre-backs in Europe move to a club already chock full of defenders?

(Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

For now, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling all remain at United and they barely played a game between them for the Red Devils last season.

Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly are competing for a starting spot. While the future looks bright with Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi waiting in the wings.

While some of those players could well leave in time, it remains to be seen if Upamecano will see that competition for places as exciting or off-putting.

A challenge or a hindrance?

There is no doubt the French international is considerably better than many of United’s current options.

 

But, given the clubs likely to be clamouring for his services when he does ultimately move on, United have a choice to make.

Do they clear out the deadwood and risk losing the likes of Mengi further down the line, or do they potentially miss out on one of the best defenders of his generation?

This problem has been a long time coming. United’s habit of collecting centre-backs has been clear for a while. Selling those they no longer want has been considerably harder.

If Upamecano sees the prospect of competing with Lindelof and Bailly now – and Tuanzebe and Mengi further down the line – as a challenge worth taking, all the better.

But only time will tell if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets his man on this occasion.

Tuanzebe and Mengi are expected to be United’s first-choice centre-back pairing if both fulfil their potential. So anyone arriving now, regardless of their quality, should bear that in mind.

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