This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Turkish Football, Manchester United have made an enquiry over potentially signing Juventus defender Merih Demiral this summer.
The report claims that United, along with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, have contacted Demiral’s representatives about his availability.
It adds that Juventus are not keen on sending the 21-year-old out on loan and that they have already rejected an approach from Serie A rivals Milan to sign him on a permanent deal.
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Despite only joining Juventus earlier in July, Matthijs de Ligt’s recent arrival in Turin has left Demiral free to leave, and he would be a much cheaper alternative to United’s current pursuit of Harry Maguire.
Despite being just 21, Demiral has had a whirlwind career. The six-cap Turkey international has spent time in Portugal with Sporting B, in his native country with Alanyaspor, and finally in Italy with Sassuolo and then Juventus.
The 6 foot 4 centre-back’s experience in different countries and different styles of football make him someone who could perhaps easily adapt to the cultural shock that comes with the Premier League. Indeed, having started the season at Alanyaspor, Demiral joined Sassuolo in the January transfer window and took to Italian football like a duck to water.
Registering 1.7 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 5.6 clearances per game, Demiral continued his impressive defensive abilities with the Italian side. However, the biggest sign of how he could potentially make the step up to United is through how his work on the ball improved dramatically after the turn of the year.
After averaging just 37.7 passes per game at an accuracy rating of 77.3% in his half-season with Alanyaspor, Demiral finished the campaign with Sassuolo with 50.4 passes per game and 87% pass accuracy.
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The defender himself has also admitted that he looked up to a United legend whilst growing up.
He told Tam Saha magazine (via Turkish Football): “When I was young I always followed Nemanja Vidic at Manchester United. I used to watch clips of him on the internet. He’s still my idol even if he has retired. He was brave, a warrior, never gave up and was a true leader.”
And Demiral’s willingness to leave Turkey and experience top-flight football across Europe at a tender age is a symbol of the type of Vidic-like bravery that United could do with.
His youthfulness, desire, rapid improvement and adaptability would make him a very shrewd investment indeed.