Joao Miranda is a Brazilian footballer who plays a central defender for the Brazilian National Team and Italian Club Internazionale. Miranda was a central part of the Atletico Madrid defence that lifted the title and joined the Italian club in 2015 for a two year loan of 4 million euros and Inter had an obligation to sign him outright for 11 million Euros. Manchester United and Chelsea both were interested in the central defender at the start of the current season, however both the clubs did not make a bid for him. With United’s defence looking shaky for most part of the season, Louis Van Gaal is looking for reinforcements and Joao Miranda might be the solution to United’s defensive worries.
Let us look at 3 factors that shows us why Miranda would be a good signing for the Red Devils.
Proven track record:
Miranda has had a good track record wherever he has played. In his first season in senior football, he made 45 appearances for Coritiba in the Brazilian League. That’s a huge achievement for a newbie. When he returned to Sau Paolo, he was in the team of the year for four consecutive years from 2007 to 2010. Post that came the Atletico call and he took it up. At Atletico, he slowly but steadily became a central part of the team and guided Atletico to its first La Liga title in 17 years. He was like a defensive rock and excelled in big matches against opponents like Real Madrid and Barcelona. For his stellar performance in the 2014 season, he was nominated as the best defender in the league along with Filipe Luis and Sergio Ramos.
Given Manchester United‘s inconsistency in defence for 3 seasons now, it is a player like Miranda that directly fits in to their back four. He can provide the stability that United need in defence and might be their defensive leader for a couple of seasons.
Miranda has years of expertise in top flight football around the world. The central defensive position is a role that he has commanded over the years. He has been one of the most important players in any team that has played in. In his last 3 seasons at Atletico and as well as his current season in Inter, he has maintained an average duels won percentage of more than 50. He is 31 and has experience in top flight football for more than a decade.
Chris Smalling is 26 and even though he is at United since 2010, he has just made 123 appearances. He is still supposed to be United’s main man in central defence. Apart from him, United’s other Central defender is Phil Jones who seems to miss more than half a season always with injury. Both Daley Blind and Paddy McNair seem to be more of a make shift central defenders and are also seen playing out as full-backs a lot of times. United need a man who can command the Central defensive role for a couple of years and guide Smalling to become the next defensive leader. Miranda seems to be a perfect fit for that.
The Inter defender’s attributes looks to be fitting in to any defence. He has always had the knack of keeping the most prolific players quiet. He enjoyed five undefeated encounters against Real Madrid until the Champions League final loss to them in 2014. At 6 feet 1 inch, the Brazilian has a street fighter attitude and that makes a good fit for the English game. He also gives a good aerial threat from corners in the opponent’s box. This season, he has had an average pass accuracy of 82% and has won 36 tackles with a success rate of more than 40%. Apart from that he has 56 interceptions, 129 clearances and 16 blocks in this season itself. (Stats taken from Squawka.com)
Manchester United need a defender who can be more physical. Chris Smalling has offered that physical performance quite a few times, but his partners have always let him down in this regard. Daley Blind or Paddy McNair hardly provide a physical performance. They look more of a clever ball playing Centre back than a physical one. With Miranda, United will get the physical dominance in defence that they have been looking for. Against big teams, especially in Europe, Miranda is the kind of centre back that United lack at the back.