The departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand over the summer meant that Manchester United needed to invest heavily in central defensive reinforcements if the club wanted to have a seamless transition this season. But not only did that reinforcement not come, the arrival of Marcos Rojo notwithstanding, injuries at the start of the season has left the squad thread bare, especially in central defence.
With Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling out injured and Tyler Blackett, a youngster who had only made his debut at the start of the season suspended, the club had to throw in an 19-year-old midfielder in central defence against West Ham. Although Paddy McNair, who had previously played in central defence for the reserve side did well on debut, it merely highlighted the fact that the club really buy some central defenders in the upcoming window.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, imperious and imposing central defenders are hard to come by these days. Especially when you are looking for players who can command and lead the defence. With long-time target Mats Hummels already pledging his future to Borussia Dortmund for the foreseeable, the Red Devils’ options are certainly limited in terms of who they could sign.
But here are three central defenders that the club could possibly sign either in the January transfer window or over the summer to improve their creaking and injury-prone defence.
As ridiculous as this might seem, Gerard Pique would be a valuable addition to the United squad. Given the state of flux that the current Barcelona squad is in, under new manager Luis Enrique, the 27-year-old might make a return to Old Trafford next summer. The arrival of Mathieu and Vermaelen and the emergence of Marc Batra means that the Spanish international has so far seen very little game time.
The main reason why the central defender in 2008 to join Barcelona, aside from it being his hometown club, was the fact that he wanted regular first-team football. Since that is looking unlikely now, Pique might just be tempted to move back to Manchester, even if Shakira isn’t all for it. In purely footballing terms, the addition of World Cup and European Championship winning centre back, who is good in the air and can play out of defence would be a dream signing for the Red Devils.
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