Oh dear, Manchester United.
With sources now claiming that Sergio Ramos has ‘played’ the club for a new Real Madrid contract and reports hinting that Nicolas Otamendi will be staying with Valencia, the Red Devils’ defensive transfer plans have taken a bit of a hit.
This is particularly concerning for the club as the area in question was undoubtedly the weakest sector of Louis van Gaal’s XI last term, and was often bailed out by the heroic David de Gea – who may not be around for much longer!
But, with the transfer window officially open until 6pm on 1st September, there is still some time to get at least one centre-back through the door at the club, and even if it’s a ‘desperation signing’ surely any sort of addition makes sense right now.
With that in mind here are FIVE stars who would surely jump at the chance to play for LVG’s side and shouldn’t be too tough to lure in…
After shining for LVG at last summer’s World Cup, a Netherlands reunion act at Old Trafford was mooted. In fairness, ‘Concrete Ron’ looked, as his nickname would suggest, solid in the Oranje XI, with his lack of pace not so much of an issue thanks to the speed of team-mates and his reading of the game in a back three.
Fast-forward 12 months, and Vlaar is now a free agent, facing a few months on the sidelines with a knee injury. Okay, it would be a risk to bring in an unfit player, but the 30-year-old would be a freebie, and boasts a wealth of experience, making him a great short-team option. While he recovers from his knee issues, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling could command the centre of defence.
Not ‘desperation’ in quite the same way as Ron Vlaar would be, making a move for Stones now would whiff of a signing made in a time of anxiety at Old Trafford. The 21-year-old is an excellent young centre-back, but with Everton having already rejected £20m for him there’s every chance his price-tag could creep north of £30m with Chelsea firmly in the race.
Stones is a promising, ball-playing defender, but he lacks experience with fewer than 50 Premier League outings to his name and only four senior England caps. Although he looks to have a bright future, a massive fee now would appear desperate on United’s behalf.
A Mexico international plying his trade in La Liga with Espanyol, Moreno has earned much praise over the course of the past few years. Like Ron Vlaar, he looked impressive at last summer’s World Cup, playing a key role as his side held Brazil to a 0-0 in their Group A clash.
However, his chances of a move were thwarted by a fracture to his tibia, which he only returned from over the winter.
At 27 he is entering his peak years and could offer a genuine alternative to the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, potentially filling the void until next summer when a top-class target may become available.
Linked with United earlier this summer, Galatasaray’s 24-year-old centre-back is clearly a player to have been talked about at Old Trafford.
A four-time Super Lig champion with the Istanbul club, Kaya boasts much experience, and in that time he’s also featured in the Champions League – which could be handy for LVG as he enters his first European campaign at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, there are questions surrounding Kaya’s ability to step out of a relatively poor league.
A £10m-rated Dutchman being linked with Everton, Van Dijk could be a wise addition. Van Gaal clearly knows all about the player thanks to his knowledge of stars from the Netherlands, but his decision to overlook him as he built his squad for last summer’s World Cup does indeed hint that he may not rate him too highly.
The 24-year-old has proven himself to be far too good for the Scottish top tier, but the gap between said division and the Premier League is vast, so his adaptation may not be smooth. However, Van Dijk boasts good pace, a strong physique and is good with the ball at his feet.