5 centre-backs Manchester United could target in January
Manchester United need a quality centre-back desperately. This is no longer a question of maybe but that of who comes in and when.
When he retired in 2014, Sir Alex Ferguson had left behind a solid centre-back quartet that had almost everything. While Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were the first choice central pairing, Phil Jones and Johnny Evans were a more-than-capable backup duo.
This same backline was less awesome the following season under David Moyes. The team conceded an unusually high number of goals in the 2013/2014 season. This was one of the reasons behind Moyes' eventual dismissal by the club's board.
The team has been floundering since then. Even Jose Mourinho's legendary skills in organizing a defence have been found wanting. Despite spending almost £61m on Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in the two-and-a-half seasons he has been at Old Trafford, the position remains a big problem for the team.
With the team desperately battling to keep pace before the current top 5 disappear into the distance, a new defensive leader will be a priority in January.
Here is a look at 5 possible defenders that Mourinho and vice-chairman Ed Woodward might target in January:
#5 Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
It is surely time for the German international to take his leave and move on to one of Europe's leading clubs. The towering centre-back has been an ever-present in the Werkself team that has conceded an alarming 21 goals in just 10 Bundesliga games.
While his game seems to have been affected by the weak defensive structure around him, that should in no way detract from his considerable talent.
A towering centre-back at 6'4, Tah is an accomplished passer of the ball who isn't afraid of engaging in physical battles. For such a big and tall player, he is very good when in possession averaging an 85.9% passing success rate.
A coach like Mourinho will be able to help the 22-year-old iron out the kinks in his game. In return, Manchester United will be getting a player who is strong in the air and quick thinking on his feet. His excellent positioning coupled means that the Red Devils could become less susceptible to conceding from corners with him in the side.
It is unclear how much Tah who recently signed a new contract till 2021 will cost Manchester United but it might not exceed the £50m mark.