Three Centre-Back Options That Could Make Manchester United Great Again

Manchester United will be fairly happy with a second placed finish in the Premier League, if they can hang on to it.

But the Red Devils must be ambitious enough to want more next term. They will want to show that they can clinch top class honours.

For that to happen, they’ll need to strengthen during the upcoming summer transfer window. I believe that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want to bring in a new central defender to offer more depth in that area of the team.

Ole and United will probably scour Europe and look for an strong candidate and one who has the potential to reach world class level. I often think Man Utd are better off when they sign a very good player and make them world class, rather than going for a fully established player that has already reached their ceiling.

I also think Solskjaer and the United support will have become tired of the injuries that Phil Jones and Eric Bailly always seem to pick up. While Victor Lindelof can look sublime on his day, the Swede still struggles with consistency.

With all that in mind, here are three centre-back options that could tighten things up at the back for Manchester United next season and beyond:


The twenty-two year old Frenchman made the move from Bordeaux to Sevilla in the summer of 2019 and he’s become a mainstay for the La Liga side ever since, having starred in 79 games for Los Nervionenses.

If current Man United centre-half Harry Maguire enjoys playing on the left-hand side of a pairing, then Koundé could fit-in well beside him as he’s right footed.

Jules was a key part of Sevilla’s Europa League campaign last year, dumping United out in the process (

He might not look imposing at 5’10 but Koundé is still very good in the air, due to a magnificent leap he possesses. On average he’s winning around three headers per game in La Liga this season (Stats from Whoscored)

The French Under-21 defender can also read the game and has strong positional skills. That intelligence along with pace could act as a perfect foil for Maguire in United’s backline.

The main issue that could stand in United’s way of completing a deal for Jules Koundé could be the £68m release fee in his current contract. With Sevilla on course to qualify for next season’s Champions League, the Spanish cracks probably won’t be in a rush to sell their asset this summer and that might mean that they’ll not budge on the fee.


United have been linked with Pau Torres for a while now, with the Daily Mirror going as fas as to say that a ‘mutual agreement’ has been agreed upon already.

Like Koundé, Torres has excelled in La Liga this term. With his current Villarreal boss Unai Emery delighted with his progress and his attributes:

“I’ve been a coach in Sevilla, PSG, Arsenal and I’ve never seen a centre back like Pau Torres.

“I think he’s going to play at the highest level, he’s playing now in the national team but he can play in the top teams in Europe very soon.”

Emery Quote Via Manchester Evening News

Pau is another defender who is more than capable when it comes to handling himself in the air. He also has the pace needed to clean up things at the back if needed.

Would be best deployed on the left side of the centre-back pairing and that might depend on what Maguire favours or whether or not Solskjaer believes it will give him more balance at the back.

Wouldn’t cost just as much as Koundé and Villarreal might be interested in bring back Eric Bailly in part exchange of any deal.


One that could be a bit more of a left-field option could be Roma central defender Gianluca Mancini.

The twenty-four year old has won four caps for the Azzurri and he’s in Roberto Mancini’s squad for the latest World Cup qualifying fixtures for this month.

He’s a tall and very physical player and those are ideal attributes for any defensive player looking to play in the Premier League.

In Serie A this term he has a passing completion percentage at around 89%, which will be at the level Ole would expect at United. No Man Utd centre-back has averaged more tackles than Mancini this term, nor have they bettered his interceptions.

While Gianluca can easily fit into a back three, he has shown with Italy that he can perform in a back four too. He’s fast and has high concentration levels which would mean he could make up for any potential lapses from other Red Devils in the defensive line. Is also versatile enough to play in midfield or as a right-back if required.

Gianluca Mancini could be the cheapest option out of the three as it looks likely that AS Roma will miss out on Champions League football next season.

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