Manchester United continued their unbeaten run of form with a 1-1 draw against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Thursday but it has to be said that the Red Devils’ performance on the day was very poor.
United were dominated throughout the match by Stoke and it the end, they were a bit fortunate to come out of the game with anything.
Manager Louis van Gaal keeps persisting with his 5-3-2 formation but the centre back trio of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans – in particular, simply do not look comfortable enough to be able to effectively play in such a system.
Therefore, it is clear to see that van Gaal needs to sign a defender who can work well in a three man defence and although the Dutchman has denied claims that he will be looking to bring in a new centre back during the January transfer window, everyone expects at least one new player to arrive through the doors of Old Trafford to strengthen the United backline.
Top class players such as Mats Hummels, Sergio Ramos and Ron Vlaar have all been linked with a move to United in the past few months and now another shock name in the form of Pepe has been touted with a switch to Manchester.
Pepe has been one of the best defenders in the world over the past few years but his place in the Real Madrid first team is now no longer guaranteed due to the emergence of young Raphael Varane.
With the defender’s contract at the Santiago Bernabeu set to expire in 2016, it is believed that Madrid are open to cashing in if a decent offer comes along and now according to Spanish news outlet Marca, Manchester United have expressed their interest in signing the defender in January.
At 31, Pepe is most certainly not a long term option but there is no doubting that the Portuguese international is still a classy defender and he could well prove to be an inspired signing who can work well in van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system.