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5 defenders Manchester United failed to sign this summer

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The Manchester United defense lacks experienced and proven leaders.
Manav Jain

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was crying out for a top world-class defender all summer. There were a number of attempts made to sign some of the best in the business but unfortunately, the English giants failed to wrap up a deal for any of their targets.

Having spent £370 million over two years, there was an indication from the board that the asking price for some of the players was just too much after the FIFA World Cup or the players were not better than what the squad had already.

Their biggest rivals Manchester City shocked the world with their record-breaking 2017/18 Premier League campaign where they scored the most number of goals and amassed the highest points tally in the league.

The Red Devils managed to finish second but failed to compete for the title with a huge difference of 19 points between themselves and their rivals.

The pressure on Jose Mourinho is at its peak with his third season in charge of the club and their fans could lose patience with the Portuguese if they do not mount a serious title challenge this season.

Manchester United responded to this ever-growing pressure by signing Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk in a £52 million transfer fee. The fact that they managed to keep their star midfielder Paul Pogba despite heavy links to FC Barcelona throughout the summer will be an added bonus for the Red Devils.

However, the squad seems to be short of leaders at the back with the likes of Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw who have all struggled to keep their place in the team.

Jose Mourinho tried to address this serious concern by bidding for some of the best defenders in the world but ultimately couldn't sign any of his top summer transfer targets.

Let's take a look at the top 5 defenders Manchester United failed to sign this summer.


#5 Yerry Mina (FC Barcelona)

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Colombian defender Yerry Mina was one of the star performers of the WC 2018.

The 23-year-old defender, Yerry Mina was one of the star performers of the FIFA World Cup 2018. The Colombian scored 3 goals in 3 matches for the Los Cafeteros who were knocked out by semi-finalists England in the Round of 16 of the footballing extravaganza.

At club level, the defender failed to cement his spot in the starting lineup for FC Barcelona with Pique and Umtiti being the preferred partnership at the back. He played only 4 matches for the La Liga giants in the 2017-18 season.

However, his stock increased rapidly after a fantastic World Cup campaign where he scored in every game he played.

Following his fabulous displays at the World Cup, the Colombian was linked to some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Barcelona was in constant pursuit of star midfielder Paul Pogba all summer.

They reportedly tried to lure Manchester United into selling Pogba in a players plus cash deal for the midfielder with Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes going the other way.

The deal failed to complete and Mina ultimately joined Premier League side Everton instead on deadline day in a €32 million move.

#4 Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)

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German defender Jerome Boateng would've brought much-needed solidity and leadership at the back for Manchester United.

The 29-year-old defender, Jerome Boateng is a proven leader and one of the best defenders in the world. Physically strong and composed in possession, his stock increased even further when he produced a match-winning performance for the Germans in the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Initially a right back the versatile defender joined German giants Bayern Munich in 2011 for a €13.5 million transfer fee from Premier League side Manchester City. He has never looked back since and was a key component in the club's continental treble during the 2012/13 season.

According to various reports, Manchester United was leading the race to sign the experienced defender this summer. He was seen to be one of the top targets for Jose Mourinho in this transfer window with a deal costing between €50 and €60 million.

However, the transfer did not complete as according to Daily Mail, the Red Devils were wary of spending big on a player with injury issues because of past concerns with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Owen Hargreaves.

Now, the German is favorite to join French giants Paris Saint-Germain as confirmed by Bayern's president Uli Hoeness who said he has a "50-50" chance of leaving Bayern Munich.

#3 Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)

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Diego Godin is one of the best defenders in the world.

The 32-year-old defender, Diego Godin is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the world. The clean-sheet master who has led the Atletico Madrid defense to 200 clean sheets in 377 games under Diego Simeone, is a fine example of the art of defending.

In May 2018, the Uruguayan led the Spanish giants to their second UEFA Europa League title in recent years. He also led them to a runners-up spot in the UEFA Champions League in 2014 and 2016.

Godin has been a regular in the UEFA Team of the Year and his accolades prove he has European pedigree.

According to the Guardian, Manchester United was desperate to add the experienced defender to their squad, activating his release clause of €25 million.

However, the defender reportedly rejected the offer and chose to stay with the Spanish giants due to "personal reasons." He reportedly penned a new deal with Atletico Madrid for two years believed to be worth £6.74 million a year.

#2 Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)

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The Belgian would have transformed Manchester United into strong Premier League contenders.

The 29-year-old defender, Toby Alderweireld is an experienced Premier League campaigner and was the best option for Manchester United to chase with just 12 months remaining on his contract.

He joined Southampton on loan in 2014 from Atletico Madrid and completed a move to Tottenham in 2015 for £11.5 million.

The Belgian has performed at the highest level since joining Tottenham Hotspur having been recognized as one of the best defenders in the Premier League by many commentators. He was a key component of the team that achieved the best defensive record in the club's history in 2016 and was named in the PFA Team of the Year.

According to BleacherReport, Manchester United agreed on a deal with their Premier League rivals over their in-demand defender believed to be in the region of £50 million. Goal also confirmed the news but reported Spurs wouldn't sell unless they signed a replacement first.

The deal stalled however until transfer deadline day and the transfer failed to complete to the Red Devils' disappointment.

Former Spurs player Jermaine Jenas has predicted the versatile defender will be a Red Devil in the January transfer window. It remains to be seen how things pan out for the Old Trafford faithful.

#1 Harry Maguire (Leicester City)

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Harry Maguire was a key component of England's semi-final finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The 25-year-old defender, Harry Maguire was one of the key components of England's semi-final run at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. His performance in Russia increased his stock to a whopping £100 million valuation in the summer transfer window.

Maguire joined current club Leicester City in 2017 for a £17 million transfer fee from Hull City.

From 2012-2014, the defender was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year with Sheffield United. Following consistent displays in the Premier League for Hull City, he joined the Foxes looking for a new challenge.

A good showing with Leicester City earned him a place in the World Cup 2018 squad with England which completely changed his life.

Manchester United were strong contenders for the Premier League defender after he returned from Russia but needed to splash the cash for his signature. Leicester City placed a whopping £100 million price tag to his name.

However, according to Sky Sports, United valued the defender at a maximum of £65 million. Leicester City resisted any move for their English hero as the asking price was deemed too high and ultimately tied him down to a new deal.

According to the Telegraph, Manchester United surprisingly turned down a chance to sign the defender for £15 million in 2017. They instead chose to sign Swedish defender Victor Lindelof for £31 million from Portuguese giants Benfica.


Should Manchester United have gone against their transfer restrictions to sign a world-class defender this summer? Will they rival Manchester City to the Premier League title this season? Will Jose Mourinho get the sack in his third season with Manchester United? Let us know in the comments section.

Edited by Shea Robinson

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