With Luke Shaw and converted winger Ashley Young sharing the role this season, Manchester United need a long-term solution at left-back. Jose Mourinho still doesn’t appear to completely trust the former, while the latter’s ability to hold down the No.3 slot beyond this campaign, replicating a level of form that has been majestic at times this season, remains a contentious issue.
The idea of Danny Rose moving to Old Trafford has persisted this season, but no deal happened in January and the England international’s injury problems may put off Mourinho, especially as the Tottenham defender will turn 28 before the start of 2018/19. Considering the relentless energy required from full-backs these days too, buying young has an obvious logic to it.
And upon an FA Cup weekend in which Rose struggled to have a telling impact during Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Rochdale, Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell – in contrast, one of the Foxes’ best performers as they saw off a resilient Sheffield United side – stood out as a viable alternative. The 21-year-old has been mooted as one of English football’s more exciting young defenders for some time and has been linked with moves to the Premier League’s top clubs before.
They will have taken note of a dynamic display on Saturday that saw the England U21 combine solidity in defence with real purpose in attack, balancing out three tackles and three interceptions – the most of any Leicester player on both fronts – with four created chances and six successful dribbles. And tellingly of how influential he was, Chilwell finished up with the most touches of the ball of any player on the pitch.
No doubt, the Blades made it somewhat facile for Chilwell, partaking in a rear-guard that saw them record just one shot on target and allow him time on the ball. But the performance was nonetheless a glimpse into Chilwell’s potential, highlighting how influential he can be in possession while remaining sturdy off the ball.
Transfermarkt value the young full-back at just £2.7million, although United could easily end up paying something near ten times that sum considering the relentless inflation in transfer fees in recent summers, coupled with the fact his contract doesn’t expire until 2021.
But it could be a wise investment that saves United money in the short and long-term, with The Daily Mail mooting Rose as a £50million acquisition back in December. So, United fans, which left-back would you like to see the Red Devils move for this summer? Let us know by voting below…