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Manchester United must complete Ivan Fresneda signing

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is eyeing a swoop for Real Valladolid’s budding right-back sensation Ivan Fresneda, with a January transfer potentially forthcoming.

According to Football Insider, the Red Devils have entered the race to land the signature of the defender, who has also been subject to intrigue stemming from Arsenal and Newcastle United, with Valladolid resigned to losing their most coveted asset this month.

The 18-year-old Spaniard has emerged as one of the hottest prospects in La Liga over the past year, swiftly asserting himself in a Valladolid outfit that is battling to stave off relegation from the Spanish first division, currently perched in 17th place, one point off the drop-zone.

The right-back zone is an area that United have held a strong interest in bolstering since the arrival of their Dutch manager last year, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka facing an uncertain future despite his purple patch over recent weeks.

Imagine him & Antony

Diogo Dalot is unquestionably the No. 1 in the right-back role at the Theatre of Dreams, having made 23 appearances, scoring one goal and two assists. 

However, Wan-Bissaka, signed in 2019 from Crystal Palace for £50m, has failed to grasp the mantle regarding the deployment down the right flank and has consequently been touted by several outfits this season. 

Signing Fresneda would provide United with one of the most prodigious talents the full-back position has to offer worldwide, providing Dalot with the perfect cover to offer him healthy competition and challenge for a starting berth at Old Trafford.

Should Man United sign Ivan Fresneda?

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Yes

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A fee of €30m (£26m) has been previously attached to the teenager’s name, but United have shown before that they are unflinching in parting with wads of cash should the player in question be deemed an appropriate fit.

And what a signing Fresneda would be; having made 11 appearances this season for his Spanish outfit, starting seven times, he is indeed steadily blossoming into his role having made four consecutive starting displays in the league, earning the trust of his manager despite the club’s perilous position on the cusp of safety.

An innate defensive force, Fresneda would provide the extra iron-clad resolve when defensive organisation and emphasis is required, perhaps in the pivotal moments of a season when maintaining a lead could prove the difference between advancing to the next round of a tournament or securing three points to close the gap on high-flying Premier League table-toppers Arsenal.

As per FBref, he ranks among the best 1% of full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues for tackles, the top 4% for clearances and the top 8% for interceptions – illustrating the wall that would be erected in his presence. 

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His stability and assurance would potentially enhance the fortunes of United’s £86m summer signing Antony, who has displayed glimpses of brilliance since his move from Ajax Amsterdam, if not the fluid consistency his outfit cries for. 

Antony ranks among the top 13% of positional peers for total shots, and with Fresneda’s defensive foundation behind him down the right skirting of the Old Trafford pitch, he could finally flourish and start to produce clinical performances with the regularity that earned a move to one of the game’s most illustrious outfits.

Bearing these factors in mind, United must swoop for the 18-year-old Fresneda, who has been described as “beastly” by Juan Arroita, and form a deadly partnership down the right flank, nurturing his skills and growing him into a vibrant force on the continental scene, like a sunflower stretching to the sun.