Manchester United fans were, not too long ago, unanimous in their opinion that Aaron Wan-Bissaka was a good option at right-back. In fact, real criticism and question marks have arisen just this season. We will look at three right-backs Manchester United should look to sign this summer.
Wan-Bissaka was first dropped from the side when Ralf Rangnick took charge as interim boss. The German preferred Diogo Dalot over the England international and Dalot impressed in a few games. He was much more comfortable in possession and showed good technical attributes, especially going forward.
However, Dalot has been unable to show good form consistently and has had a few mares, particularly defensively. While Dalot could improve defensively under Erik ten Hag, it may be wise for Manchester United to look at some options in this position.
5. Djed Spence
Djed Spence, from Middlesbrough, has enjoyed a productive loan spell with Nottingham Forest this season. The 21-year-old has been a mainstay for the promotion-pushing side.
Spence’s biggest quality is his acceleration. His light touches mean that he is able to remain fluid on the ball and this allows him to spring in either direction. One clear weakness in his game is his passing. He does not have a large arsenal of quality passes, and this is also an aspect of the game Wan Bissaka struggles with.
The youngster is blessed with terrific speed and his acceleration is good. This allows him to get past his opponents frequently and create attacking situations for his side.
Manchester United could sign Spence at a good price and the deficiencies in his game can be worked on under the mentorship of Ten Hag. Most importantly, the weaknesses in his game can be worked on and improved on, so this will not deter Manchester United.
4. Tariq Lamptey
Tariq Lamptey is a product of Chelsea's brilliant academy and is Brighton’s first-choice at tight-back. He fitted into Graham Potter’s youth-centric philosophy which forced the club’s hand to sign the talented teenager from Chelsea.
Lamptey’s biggest strength is his speed. He is lightning quick, and this has proven to be very effective in both defensive and attacking areas of the pitch. Brighton tend to operate with advanced midfielders, which means there is a primary responsibility for the full-back to provide width.
Like most modern fullbacks, Lamptey offers his best in attack. His pace means he can pose difficult and awkward scenarios for opposition defenders. The youngster also has terrific reading and awareness of the game.
This allows him to intercept play often, which then leads to attacking transitions for the side on the counter-attack. Opposition defenders also have a tendency to foul Lamptey regularly. While this is not a huge positive factor, it can produce dangerous set-piece situations for the side.
There are aspects of Lamptey's game that need to be developed. Passing is an area where Lamptey needs to improve as most of his attacking play comes from his raw pace and ability to intercept play.
To refine his attacking abilities, he needs to learn how to unlock defences through elite passing and crosses. This may be a difficult deal for Manchester United to get over the line as Potter will not want to lose Lamptey.
3. Max Aarons
Manchester United have shown interest in Max Aarons in the past. Aarons has shone since his arrival onto the scene of professional football in 2018. He has many admirers across Europe, including German giants Bayern Munich.
The 22-year-old has featured for Norwich City consistently throughout this season, and with the Canaries relegated, Aarons could be snapped up at a decent price.
His greatest strength is his attacking input. Former Norwich manager Daniel Farke must be given credit for Aarons’ development. He showed great trust in the youngster and labelled him as a special player.
Aarons has good ball-progressive abilities and this will surely be an attribute Erik ten Hag will desire in a full-back. Defensively, Aarons is competent but is it an area that can be developed as this aspect of his game is not as refined as his attacking play.
Aarons has technical qualities that Wan Bissaka and Dalot do not possess. His pace makes up for some of the defensive fragilities, and this is something Dalot has not shown.
Wan Bissaka has massive flaws when it comes to technical quality. Aarons is extremely sound technically. This would be a good signing for Manchester United as he will also be a long-term option for the club as he is still young at 22.
2. Ridle Baku
23-year-old German international Ridle Baku is another good option the club could look at. The former Mainz player caught the attention of big clubs, including German giants Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain. Baku eventually moved to Wolfsburg for €10 million. Baku broke through as a high-energy box-to-box midfielder.
However, at Wolfsburg, his potential to play as a right-wing back was identified and fulfilled. Baku possesses good dribbling abilities and his pace is convincing. This means he will definitely be an outlet on the right side of the pitch and can contribute with attacking forward runs.
Baku is also good physically, and the fact that he can also play in midfield when required makes this an asute signing.
It will be difficult for Livramento to dislodge James and a move away from Chelsea may be beneficial for his career. He has proven that he has the ability required to play in the Premier League and Manchester United should look at the youngster.
He is one of the brightest and most up-and-coming modern right-backs in the market. Livramento used to occasionally play as a winger in his academy days due to him being so effective in forward positions.
He tends to hug the touchline when in possession and also has the pace and ability to run past the opposition full-back. Southampton's 4-2-2 formation means Livramento has the responsibility to provide width for the side.
This complements his abilities and he has shown his effectiveness with 2.08 touches in the opposition area per 90 minutes.
This will be the most difficult deal to get over the line for Manchester United as opposed to the other options we have mentioned. However, his ceiling is arguably the highest and he looks to be a perfect fit for what Erik ten Hag would want in the right-back.