According to reports, three of United’s first team defenders could face a possible exit from the club as early as January. Chris Smalling and Daley Blind are two of the names mentioned in a possible clear-out from Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. Despite their fine form last season at the centre of defence in helping United to concede the least amount of goals in the league, their place in the squad has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.
Following the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend, where both Smalling and Blind were way below par, the manager is reported to have expressed his disappointment to Smalling in particular regarding the dismal showing. With Eric Bailly out for a possible 8 weeks with a knee injury, and also his probable inclusion in the Ivory Coast squad for the African Cup of Nations, it leaves United without their best performing centre back this season for a possible 13 weeks.
Marcos Rojo is another name mentioned in possible decluttering of the squad. Despite his solid display in the Manchester Derby, the Argentina international has consistently put in a string of poor performances during his time at United. His lack of ability to track his man and susceptibility to lapses in concentration have frustrated Red’s fans continuously over the last few seasons. This may be a possible transfer that United fans will not dwell on too long if it were to happen.
With transfer rumours floating around regarding Matteo Darmian’s possible move to Inter Milan, and reports which suggest Mourinho may not be fully convinced about Luke Shaw, United could end up rather light amongst the defensive ranks. Cue the rumours regarding Roma’s Germany international, Antonio Rudiger.
The 23 year old versatile defender is reportedly being monitored by United and Chelsea with the Red’s possibly tempted for a January move. The Roma man, who is just returning to action following an injury sustained at Euro 2016, could be a valuable asset for Manchester United as he can operate at centre back or as a right back. He is quick, strong, fantastic in the air, and maybe most importantly, decent with the ball at his feet. Chris Smalling, as good as an athlete as he is, is not the most impressive technician.
Since the departure of Rio Ferdinand, United have had a lack of central defenders who are quick, strong and technically sound and Rudiger could be the man to fill that void. Although still short of game time following his lengthy lay off, some reports suggest that the Germany international could cost north of £35m.
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