Manchester United have had their hopes of signing Juventus defender Merih Demiral boosted.
That is according to a report from Italian outlet Tutto Atalanta, via Sport Witness, who claim that the Turkish defender could be “sacrificed” from a Juventus perspective in other to bolster their transfer kitty from what would be an immediate sale.
In a report that mentions both Manchester United and Real Madrid among top European destinations, it is said that the Red Devils are “above all” in the list of European outfits who are ready to move for the defender – this despite the fact that Los Blancos “moved first” for the transfer of the 24-year-old.
In the same report, it is stated that two clubs may “already have an agreement in principle”, with United anticipated to be one of those clubs, particularly with the Premier League side now in pole position for the signature.
In order for the transfer to work, it would copy the model that saw Spurs sign Christian Romero from Atalanta, in which they bought Romero and immediately sold him.
With Atalanta intending to trigger the buy-option to sign the £27m-rated Turkish defender from Juventus, they could immediately sell him to the likes of United in a replica model to that used in the case of Romero.
In Demiral, we are talking about a player who has been more defensively sound than Raphael Varane across the last 365 days, as per FBref.
After spending this season on loan at Atalanta, Demiral has been able to demonstrate his acumen in 42 appearances which have seen him make 28 in the Serie A and six apiece in the Champions League and Europa League, respectively.
His ability to pressure the opposition has been his biggest asset this year, putting up an astonishing average of 14.93 pressures per 90, with 7.35 occurring in the defensive third and 7.03 in the middle third also. With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise to see him described as an “absolute beast” by talent scout Jacek Kulig.
In comparison, Varane’s numbers falter, with his average of 8.08 pressures almost not worth comparing.
It’s the same for the majority of defensive metrics, with Demiral topping the Frenchman for tackles, interceptions and blocks per 90 minutes. Though it is worth noting that the World Cup winner is more accomplished in possession.
That said, they are two players with different defensive approaches. Demiral can play the Vidic role for Ten Hag in United’s back-line with his ball-winning ability.