Manchester United’s defence has seen higher days.
Lengthy gone are the times when Edwin van der Sar’s purpose was protected by the formidable again 4 of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Wes Brown.
Now, United’s defence has hardly ever seemed so shaky. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rearguard has been breached no fewer than 11 instances in three Premier League video games already this season.
Nevertheless, whereas United did not strengthen at centre-back throughout the summer season switch window, the membership has devoted a sizeable portion of its funds to purchasing defenders within the Ed Woodward period.
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Some have been profitable, others not so.
Right here, we rank the defenders United have signed since Woodward’s appointment as govt vice-chairman in 2013.
ninth – Matteo Darmian
Matteo Darmian joined United for round £12m in 2015, signing a four-year deal after a formidable spell with Torino.
Nevertheless, after exhibiting promise throughout his first season, the Italian fell out of favour and remained marginalised below Jose Mourinho.
The complete-back managed solely 14 league appearances throughout the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons earlier than becoming a member of Parma.
eighth – Diogo Dalot
Regardless of costing a hefty £19m, Dalot’s affect on the first-team has been minimal since arriving from Porto in 2018.
Having appeared sporadically below former United chief Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese right-back has barely had a look-in below Solskjaer, making simply 11 appearances final season and his days at Outdated Trafford look numbered now that he has joined AC Milan on mortgage.
Dalot clearly has lots of pure capacity – his dribbling and crossing caught the attention throughout early appearances – however the 21-year-old has been a significant disappointment.
seventh – Marcos Rojo
Signed off the again of a formidable exhibiting for Argentina on the 2014 World Cup, Marcos Rojo’s United profession has been ravaged by accidents.
As per Opta, he has managed solely 973 minutes of Premier League motion because the begin of the 2017/18 season.
Signed as a left-back, Rojo has been used largely at centre-half throughout his six years in Manchester. There was the odd robust exhibiting, however he has fallen a way wanting turning into a daily first-team fixture.
After spending the second half of final season on mortgage at Estudiantes, the 30-year-old doesn’t determine in Solskjaer’s plans.
sixth – Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly would doubtless be better-placed on this record had been it not for his price and protracted harm woes.
Signed by Mourinho from Villarreal for £30m, the Ivorian has solely managed 56 league appearances in four-and-a-bit seasons with the Reds.
At roughly 14 video games a season, he has not been afforded sufficient prolonged runs within the staff to turn out to be a extra high-profile determine at Outdated Trafford.
As aggressive and athletic a defender as United have had in recent times, Bailly might be reckless and mistake-prone on the ball, as evidenced throughout his final outing towards Tottenham Hotspur.
fifth – Daley Blind
Though predominantly a midfielder throughout the early a part of his profession, Daley Blind spent a lot of his 4 years at United both at full-back or centre-half.
The versatile Dutchman typically fulfilled his defensive duties admirably, too, aided by his astute studying of the sport.
Nevertheless, at instances, Blind’s lack of tempo was uncovered and he ultimately grew to become a bit-part participant below Mourinho earlier than leaving to rejoin Ajax in 2018.
Nonetheless, he’s fondly remembered by United followers.
4th – Victor Lindelof
One other big-money Mourinho recruit, United supporters had excessive hopes for Victor Lindelof after his arrival from Benfica in 2017.
Whereas his debut season was admittedly shaky, Lindelof has since firmly established himself as a first-choice centre-back on the membership, beginning all however three of final season’s league video games.
This season started with a chastening expertise towards Crystal Palace when he was haunted by Wilfried Zaha’s tempo, however regardless of that, the Swede has undoubtedly been one of many sounder defensive recruitments throughout the Woodward period.
third – Harry Maguire
Given his £80m price ticket, Harry Maguire has been a simple scapegoat for United’s current defensive woes.
And, whereas it’s true that he has made some high-profile errors, there have been loads of commanding performances by the England worldwide.
Final season, he performed each single minute of United’s league marketing campaign. This season, he has actually proven indicators of weariness, not least throughout a catastrophic exhibiting towards Spurs, however there’s nonetheless loads of time for Maguire to regular the ship and re-assert his authority as membership captain.
There’s, in fact, room for enchancment, however it will be churlish to put in writing him off at this stage.
2nd – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Like Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has not had all of it his personal manner since becoming a member of in the summertime of 2019.
Seen as one of many league’s prime gamers in one-in-one defensive conditions, the younger Englishman’s disappointing attacking output stops him from hitting prime spot on this record.
Certainly, Wan-Bissaka failed to attain in 35 league outings final season, and whereas he managed 4 assists, his numbers pale compared to Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold – his foremost long-term rival for the England right-back spot.
In fact, at 22 there’s time for Wan-Bissaka to develop, and if he can polish his attacking talents whereas sustaining his decisiveness on the again, he ought to function within the United first-team for years to come back.
1st – Luke Shaw
Luke Shaw’s placement is extra a mirrored image of United’s hit-and-miss recruitment than it’s a shining endorsement of his stellar Outdated Trafford profession.
As a result of the left-back has actually encountered his justifiable share of points, from the double leg fracture that stored him out for practically a yr from September 2015 to falling out-of-favour below Mourinho.
Nevertheless, after enhancing his shows throughout the 2018/19 season, he was named United’s Participant of the Yr, capping a commendable resurgence at Outdated Trafford.
He’s anticipated to play second-fiddle to Alex Telles now, however Shaw’s capacity to maintain himself in rivalry over the past six years deserves to be recognised.