In rather bizarre and unexpected fashion, Manchester United’s deadline day looks set to be dominated by the arrival of Monaco striker Radamel Falcao on a £20million loan deal.
And although the Colombian international is rated as one of the top strikers in world football, he doesn’t address any of the Red Devils’ intrinsic weaknesses, the most notable being the absence of a high-quality centre-half.
But there’s still some impressive centre-halves available for a decent price, which is just as impressive TrustFord’s new Signing on Fee offer, which gives you £500 off the purchase of any new Ford car.
But there’s still time to find one before the 11pm deadline, and just in case Louis van Gaal is short on ideas, we’ve listed SIX last-minute centre-halves who could still be available to the Premier League side.
It may be a little late in the day to start thrashing out a deal for Tottenham star Jan Vertonghen, but the Belgium international is undoubtedly the style of centre-back Manchester United should be targeting this deadline day.
Capable of playing at left-back – as he did to great success for his county at the World Cup – or centre-back, Vertonghen would be ideal for the left side of United’s back three, offering the strength and aerial ability of a central defender but also dependable in one-on-one situations out wide.
He’s also a front-footed defender who gained his standing in England by playing out of the back and scoring goals during his first season at White Hart Lane – earning a place in the 2013 PFA Team of the Year – the vitals of which are detailed below:
Thus, he would suit the central berth in a back three perfectly too. Here’s a look at the Spurs star in action:
The former Ajax man – extra brownie points with Louis van Gaal – would vastly improve the quality of Manchester United’s defence.
But Tottenham will be incredibly reluctant to part with their key defender, especially without time to find an adequate replacement, and the north London side would likely command an unprecedented fee.
Ron Vlaar’s agent claims the defender plans to remain at Aston Villa next season, but after an impressive World Cup campaign with the Netherlands, he’s been billed as a potential Manchester United target for much of the summer:
— Talking THFC™ (@TalkingTHFC) August 20, 2014
Could we see a deal emerge in the final stages of deadline day? Concrete Ron may not be the most talented centre-back to ever grace Old Trafford but he’s as tough as, well, concrete, and Manchester United’s defence needs an imposing, dominant figure like Vlaar at the heart of it.
He’d be perfect for the central slot in United’s backline – a role identical to the one he played for Oranje at the World Cup with great success, as detailed below:
Here’s a look at Vlaar in action at Brazil 2014:
The leadership and experience the Villians skipper would provide could prove vital for the Red Devils next season. But a lot of ground will have to be made between now and 11pm, and the Carrington outfit are by no means the 29 year-old’s only suitors:
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) September 1, 2014
Manchester United have taken a look at the Brazil international before and could be enticed to revive their interest now that the German Champions have wrapped up a deal for Roma sensation Mehdi Benatia.
The Brazil international’s only involvement at the World Cup was during his country’s 7-1 thumping at the hands of Germany, but he’s been incredibly consistent at club level for the last two seasons, as detailed below:
Indeed, since joining the Allianz-Arena ranks in summer 2012, Dante has claimed no less than eight trophies, registering 95 appearances across all competitions. He’s a look at the 30 year-old in action:
Dante’s core ability is winning the ball back and effectively moving it in the right direction – which is exactly what Manchester United’s defence desperately needs right now.
He only signed a new contract in March, but the one-year extension suggests the German champions are more interested in protecting Dante’s value than keeping suitors out of reach. A bid around the £20million mark could convince Bayern to sell – but would Manchester United be prepared to pay that for a player who turns 31 in October?
Manchester United have tried and failed in their pursuit of Mats Hummels, whom, in a bid to warn off suitors, has now been named Borussia Dortmund captain.
But they could have more luck with Black-Yellows centre-back partner Neven Subotic, who has been linked with an Old Trafford switch on numerous occasions in the past.
The 25 year-old is slightly more passive-in-style than Hummels and often overshadowed by the German international, rarely gets the plaudits he deserves. No doubt however, the Serbian centre-back is one of Europe’s top defenders – just take a look at him in action last term:
Subotic’s pace, composed passing and tackling ability particularly stand out. Here’s his stats from the 2012/13 campaign, having missed much of last season through injury:
The 6 foot 4 defender is seen as vital at Westfalen but Jurgen Klopp now has three top centre-backs on his books, including Greek international Sokratis who was signed last summer.
Thus, the Black-Yellows could be convinced to part with Subotic, but they’ll expect a premium fee for his services.
The 21 year-old has thoroughly impressed since his debut for River Plate in 2012, making 30 appearances since and muscling his way into Los Cafeteros’ senior squad for the World Cup.
He’s described on FIFA’s website as “left-footed, powerfully built, strong in the air and a fearless tackler … blessed with skill and speed.” Here’s a short clip of Balanta in action:
Impressive stuff, and Manchester United need a centre-back who is willing to commit as much going forward as he is in defence – although a lack of experience in Europe could understandably seen as a major disadvantage.
But manager Ramon Diaz has compared Balanta to River Plate legend and Argentine World Cup-winning centre-back Daniel Passarella, so there’s no doubting the youngster’s huge potential.
Furthermore, the Argentinean side are prepared to sell for just £4.3million, which could prove to be a major coup in just a couple of years time.
But recent speculation suggests Liverpool have emerged as his likeliest suitors:
— LFC Transfer Rumours (@JornGjersoe72) August 28, 2014
At the heart of Stoke City’s backline, he’s helped the Potters stay in the top flight for six straight seasons, after joining the club from Manchester United’s academy back in 2008.
The 6 foot 3 centre-half was in fantastic form last season as Mark Hughes’ side recorded their highest-ever finish (9th place) of the Premier League era. Here’s a look at Shawcross’s stats for the campaign:
Now 26 years of age, donning the Potters armband and boasting 206 Premier League appearances, the timing feels right for the former Carrington graduate to return to his old club.
It’s known United have a first refusal clause for the once-capped England international, and Everton’s reported interest could give them a way in:
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 1, 2014
But their £8million valuation is believed to be some way below the mark, and Mark Hughes rates his skipper closer to £15million.