Manchester United could solve their defensive conundrum by signing Borussia Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji this summer.
What’s the story?
Centre-back has been a problem position for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men for many seasons now, with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly failing to convince over their long-term credentials.
One man who could provide the answers, though, is Akanji. The Athletic recently touted him as a player that United should be looking at, and with good reason.
Woodward must swoop
It’s been four long years since the Red Devils last got their hands on a major trophy, a run that everyone involved with the club will be desperate to end next season.
A shock defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final back in May highlighted the progress that still needs to be made by United if they are to compete for football’s biggest prizes once more.
Therefore, bringing in a new partner for club captain Harry Maguire is expected to be high up on Solskjaer’s wish list over the coming months.
While Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane has been strongly linked with a move to the 20-time English champions in recent weeks, Akanji could be a cheaper, younger alternative.
Both men have similar profiles in being quick, comfortable playing out from the back and extremely competent at bringing the ball out of defence – Akanji’s 1.5 tackles per league game, 1.8 interceptions and 2.5 clearances made him one of Dortmund’s standout performers last season.
His impressive performances have earned praise from many onlookers, including Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc following a standout performance against Wolfsburg.
“Manuel has been playing at a very high level for many months now. He does his job really well, and in Wolfsburg he almost managed to score another headed goal,” said Zorc.
“We are very happy with him. He is playing at least as well as he did when he first joined us in the winter of 2018. He is a pretty complete defender.”
The 25-year-old’s unquestionable ability would make him a perfect partner for Maguire in the heart of defence, and departing chief executive Ed Woodward must swoop for the 6 ft 1 powerhouse this summer.