Manchester United must avoid making a move for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen this summer if they want to challenge for major honours next season.
What’s the story?
According to The Athletic, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are interested in signing the 25-year-old ahead of the upcoming transfer window after he impressed during a season-long loan spell with Fulham.
Andersen made 31 Premier League appearances for the Cottagers throughout 2020/21 but was unable to prevent the capital club from suffering their second relegation in three years.
Solskjaer must avoid
United’s desire for a new centre-back to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of defence has been discussed for many months now, with several names coming to the fore.
That has left the door open to other potential targets, one of which is now thought to be Andersen.
Despite being part of a side that finished in 18th position, the £19.8m-rated Denmark international won many plaudits for his standout performances, including from Fulham legend Tony Gale.
“It doesn’t seem fair to single any one player out for praise after a win like that, but Joachim Andersen was absolutely sensational,” said Gale.
“I think he’s probably the best centre-back we’ve had since Brede Hangeland. I don’t want to be disparaging about anyone else as we’ve had a lot of good defenders, but I just think this lad really is top drawer.”
However, despite Andersen showcasing his impressive qualities for the west London outfit last season, major question marks still remain over his suitability for a side like United.
Solskjaer’s men will be aiming to claim major silverware in 2021/22, and will face incredibly stiff competition from Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in the race for domestic domination.
Therefore, the 20-time English champions need someone who is going to immediately improve their defence, rather than bring in someone who would be a solid squad player.
Victor Lindelof is currently the man tasked with playing alongside Maguire at this moment in time, and the 26-year-old’s underlying numbers indicate he outperformed Andersen last season in many aspects.
United’s No.2 also appears to be more comfortable carrying to ball forwards out of defence, a key asset in the modern era. He travelled a combined total of 9111 yards with the ball at his feet in the Premier League last season, compared to Andersen’s 8603 yards.
It will come as little surprise to fans of the Old Trafford outfit that the only key area where Lindelof was outperformed was in the air, with his aerial duel win rate of just 65.7% being dwarfed by Andersen’s 75.6% and given Maguire’s aerial ability, this shouldn’t be seen as a huge issue for United.
While the Lyon ace will certainly be a good signing for someone this summer, he’s not the player that United need to progress to the next level, so Solskjaer must avoid him in order to carry on his good work.