As we enter the 12th matchday of the Premier League season, Manchester United are not performing as they were expected. The summer witnessed the arrival of iconic manager Jose Mourinho who took over the reins from Louis Van Gaal, whose tenure was disappointing to say the least. Mourinho also shelled out a handsome amount of cash by bringing in the likes of Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan along with the free transfer of Ibrahimovic. So plenty was expected from a strong United side.
They have failed to live up to their expectations and have let their fans down. Going forward, they have found it tough at times as Ibrahimovic was out of form for large parts of the season that has gone by so far. Wayne Rooney’s influence too seems to be waning and these aren’t good signs for a United side that were expected to challenge for the title this season. Their defense too has been shaky and has leaked unnecessary goals at times. All this has lead to Mourinho looking for the winter transfer window to target defensive recruitments.
Such intentions have taken Manchester United to Naples, where Elseid Hysaj lines up for Napoli at right back. The 22-year-old has been in Italy since 2009 when he joined the youth ranks of Empoli, where he went on to play for a couple of seasons before moving to Napoli. At Napoli, he went on to establish himself as one of the club’s finest defenders with his performances.
He has been solid at the back for Napoli playing at right back and also filling in at left back from time to time, something he is very comfortable doing. So versatility is something that Hysaj definitely possesses. Standing at 6’ ft in height, the Albanian is also more than comfortable slotting in at centre half, a quality that will no doubt attract his suitors including Manchester United.
Internationally, Hysaj had the chance to play for Italy but refused any such opportunity and decided to represent the country of his birth, Albania, for whom he has 25 caps having made his debut as an 18 year old.
Style of play
Elseid Hysaj is a defensive minded player who can easily slot in at any position in the back. He is a primarily a fullback but has shown that he is equally adept at playing in the centre of defence. When he features in a fullback role, Hysaj is more than happy to join the attack and have an influence on games. But at the same time, he is known to have good positional awareness and concentration levels which enable him to track back effectively. His interceptions are super effective and Hysaj is one to be brave against opposition wingers and not succumb to pressure easily.
What Hysaj could bring to Manchester United
So why exactly are Manchester United interested in him? It has been recently hinted that Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling’s futures at the club are looking rather uncertain and Hysaj would be an able deputy to either one of them. His versatility in terms of positions he can play in can also come in handy for Manchester United who are lacking a threat from fullback positions and at the same time, are struggling to settle on one centre back pairing.