Why Manchester United did well to keep hold of Marcos Rojo this season
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed earlier this week that Marcos Rojo will be staying at the club this summer amid reports linking him with a last-minute move away.
Marcos Rojo, 29, has found first-team opportunities somewhat hard to come by these past few years, with the Argentine only managing to make a grand total of 20 appearances in all competitions since the start of the 2017/18 season. And given this situation, he wanted to leave Manchester United this summer, amidst interest from clubs such as AC Milan and AS Monaco.
However, it doesn’t seem like Marcos Rojo will be going anywhere any time soon if these words from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are anything to go by. And this could turn out to be a good decision by the Manchester United boss.
The Red Devils broke their bank in the summer for Harry Maguire, with the former Leicester City defender becoming the most expensive defender of world football.
Maguire’s arrival has seen Solskjaer pair him with Victor Lindelof in central defence, with Axel Tuanzebe in substitutes bench for each of the four Premier League games United have played so far this season.
That saw Chris Smalling slip down the pecking order behind the likes of Maguire, Lindelof, Tuanzebe and Jones, prompting him to leave the club on a season-long loan to AS Roma earlier this week.
Smalling joined Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez by leaving for Serie A this summer. This has left Solskjaer with Maguire, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Jones, Rojo and the injured Eric Bailly as options in central defence this term.
As far Marcos Rojo is concerned, he hardly featured for the club in the 2018-19 campaign, managing just six appearances across all competitions. Injuries have taken a huge toll on his Old Trafford career, while he hasn’t ever been a reliable presence at the back.
Logically, this summer was the perfect time to offload the Argentinean but having loaned out Smalling and with Bailly a long-term injury, Solskjaer just couldn’t deplete his squad further.
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The primary reason for keeping hold of Rojo and allowing Smalling to leave perhaps could be his versatility, with the Argentinean international adept playing as a left-back as well.
With Luke Shaw damaging his hamstring in the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, having Rojo gives Solskjaer an extra option other than Ashley Young in the left-back position.
Given Maguire and Lindelof are United’s first-choice defenders, it doesn’t seem as if Rojo is going to be securing a starting role under Solskjaer any time soon.
As far as being a squad player is concerned, however, the Argentinean could have a bigger role to play this season following Smalling’s temporary departure.