Stick or Twist? The Centre Back Question At Manchester United

Amazingly the problem department that was our defence, changed into one that requires outgoings and nurturing rather than breaking the bank for.

3 September 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 25: Phil Jones of Manchester United is consoled by Eric Bailly after missing his penalty during the shoot out during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Derby County at Old Trafford on September 25, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Another summer has passed us by, with Ed Woodward in charge of our transfer negotiations, but luckily he opened the Glazer’s purses just enough, so that we could buy Harry Maguire and solve the riddle that was the CB position.

Amazingly the problem department that was our defence, changed into one that requires outgoings and nurturing rather than breaking the bank for.

Chris Smalling is the one centre back to depart Old Trafford thus summer, here’s a look at the CB options that we have, and who should we keep and sell.

Harry Maguire : A colossus. ‘ A Beast’ was the name given to him by Pogba and you would be hard placed to find a better name for him (Slabhead is obviously better – don’t get me wrong ). Calm and composed on the ball. Experienced. A superb physical presence and a great reader of the game – who knows exactly when to go in aggressively for the tackle or  be cautious.

A great passing range too. Everything Ole wants in his CBs – Rock solid at the back as well as helps him build out from the back. 

Verdict : First choice CB for the next decade hopefully.

Victor Lindelof : Had a horror show of a first season but grew into his part very well in the next. As Ole himself put it – ‘ Victor is a cultured European defender’.

He is not the most aggressive of CBs but with Maguire alongside he wouldn’t have to be. He is good at covering – which will be very useful as Maguire and Wan Bissaka can be quite aggressive. He can pick out a pass and break the lines, and we have seen many a time that he has the ability to drive out from the back and supply the front line. He has the ability to complement Maguire as well as have similar abilities in terms of passing and bringing the ball out from the back.

Verdict : First choice CB.

Eric Bailly : He is a great defender but too brittle to be relied upon. Aggressive and powerful and good with the ball at his feet. But the fact that Jose didn’t trust him enough to start him over Smalling many times last year is testament to the fact that he has serious problems with his concentration – which was evident many times last year under Ole as well (re: that night in paris) 

 Verdict : Sell him and reinvest the money in a young talent like Konate, Upamecano if the need arises. 

Axel Tuanzebe : Academy Product, Physical, good on the ball – ticks all the boxes as far as Ole is concerned. One for the future – third choice CB as of now.

Verdict : Keep.

Phil Jones : We can keep him as fourth choice CB.

He is good on the ball, good aerially plus can play in the LCB position.

Still only 27 he can last a few more years strictly as a backup. Plus we can’t miss out on all the banter!!

Verdict : Keep.

Marcos Rojo : He has played what – 10 matches in the last 2 years? Must cut our losses with him ASAP.  There’s an argument for keeping him as the LB backup ;but I think it’s time we bought or developed fullbacks rather than converting wingers or CBs.

Verdict : Sell.

Do you agree with Sarath’s opinion? Get involved in the comments below.

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