Manchester United’s defensive performances this season have left something to be desired. The recent three consecutive defeats have once again highlighted the need for the Red Devils to find new solutions to strengthen their back for the upcoming campaign. Apart from the lack of synchronization between the team’s duo of centre backs, United’s Achilles’ heel is the right side of their defence line.
Both Valencia and Rafael have failed once again to be consistent this season. The Brazilian right back has only collected six EPL appearances so far this season, four of them coming in as a substitute; as for the Ecuadorian international, Valencia was Van Gaal’s favourite to assume that particularly complicated task, but once again showed some blatant defensive limitations, especially on the marking department.
Louis Van Gaal enjoys watching his wing backs participating in both the team’s attacking and defensive movements and, for that reason, he will certainly need to dive into the market and find a proper right back next Summer. These are three quality players that the Dutch manager should take in consideration for the season to come.
There is still plenty of uncertainty on where Dani Alves will play next season. The Brazilian right back’s contract with Barcelona expires next Summer and, so far, he has not yet signed a new deal, nor agreed a move elsewhere. In a recent interview, Barça’s chairman hinted that Dani Alves will remain at Catalunya next season and that the club is already negotiating with his agent, but so far they have not yet reached an agreement.
At the age of 32, Dani Alves would still be of good use at Manchester United. His enormous experience and tremendous work rate, along with his top quality acceleration and off the ball skills, would certainly offer the Red Devils that extra something that went missing in their defence line this season.
The 23-year old Croatian international is definitely one of the most promising defenders of European football at the moment. A product of Dinamo Zagreb’s football factory, Sime Vrsaljko has already played for three different teams during his still short senior career. While at Dinamo, Vrsaljko played on loan at NK Lokomotiva, before returning to the current Croatian champions and before departing to Serie A back in 2013.
Back in the Summer of that particular year, Genoa paid something around £3 million for him and his experience at the Grifone was very positive. After his good stint at Luigi Ferraris, Vrsaljko’s move to Sassuolo last Summer was somewhat surprising. Nevertheless, the Croatian right back continued to display his talent at the Eusebio Di Francesco’s team, contributing with three assists in the seventeen matches he played for the team this season.
Vrsaljko is a fairly versatile footballer, who can not only act as a right back, but also as a right midfielder or as a winger as well. His marking skills, together with his fairly good crossing and acceleration skills, allow him to produce fairly positive performances, whether he needs to assume a more defensive or a more attacking role.
It is fair to say that the Southampton’s defender has been one of the most impressive players at the English Premier League this season. A vital element in Ronald Koeman’s team, Clyne gathers all the necessary skills to become one of the best right backs at European football in a very short period of time and an eventual move to Manchester United would certainly potentiate that.
Clyne has been heavily linked to the Red Devils recently, at least until a few days ago, when he reportedly claimed that he didn’t want to go anywhere next Summer and that he would be very happy to stay at Southampton. Regardless of such statements, Clyne would definitely be a great catch for United, a team that desperately needs to inject some fresh blood in that particularly demanding area of the pitch.