Why Man United signing Gaya would solve left-back conundrum
According to a report by Deporte Valenciano (h/t Daily Express), Manchester United are targeting Valencia trio which includes left-back Jose Gaya, to strengthen their squad.
With the January transfer window opening soon, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen on strengthening his defences, especially their troubled left-back spot.
Since Patrice Evra left the club in 2014, United have been struggling to find a long-term replacement for the position.
Current left-back Luke Show is not a young kid anymore and has failed to cement himself a spot due to his consistent injuries.
Meanwhile, winger Ashley Young, who filled in as a short-term replacement during Jose Mourinho’s era, has aged and slowed down.
The Englishman never looked comfortable in that role as the Red Devils time and again failed to usher in a proper full-back.
Academy player Brandon Williams had raised a few eyebrows starting in their wins over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League and against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
The youngster, however, lacks experience and would be unable to adjust to the game’s workload. Gaya, on the other hand, has been a consistent performer in the past five seasons for the Spanish side.
Gaya is an established left-back unlike Young, who was converted into that role.
Moreover, the 24-year-old is a natural left-footer and with his arrival, United can expect more link-up play in the final third. His inclusion would pull the curtains on Young’s role as a left-back, thereby bringing healthy competition between the Spaniard and Englishman Shaw.
As mentioned before, Gaya is someone who loves to hold the ball and his pass success rate per match shows how true it is. The Spaniard has an overall 80.7 % from all senior appearances while Young, who played as a winger before, has 78.1%.
Luke Shaw slightly leapfrogs the Spaniard with 81.5% but has played fewer matches.
Gaya also outsmarts the 23-year old Shaw in the list of assists provided since their senior debuts. The Valencia full-back has 15 to his name while Shaw has a paltry seven.
His consistency in the past five seasons at one club itself reflects the player’s magnitude and his value.
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Shaw, meanwhile, has been in and out of the team, thereby disturbing the team’s rhythm. Hence planning a move for the Spanish full-back would take Man United one step closer towards solving their long-term left-back conundrum.