Five Right Backs Who Could Be The Answer At Old Trafford
In the first of a five-part feature for TheFaithfulMUFC; Kevin Levingston takes a look at some potential transfer targets for the club this summer. First up is the right-back position.
With just a few short days to go until the transfer window opens it’s set to be another summer of upheaval at Old Trafford. In a season that was something of a mixed bag for United; Louis Van Gaal ultimately achieved his aim of finishing fourth and securing Champions League football once more.
It has been an erratic season that delivered a variety of high and low points and whilst the Dutchman has just about broken even in terms of expectation; significant improvements in performance level will be required if the club is to kick on as desired next season.
An already threadbare squad will likely see more departures during the window, making new arrivals a necessity if the team is to negotiate the increased number of games next season. Aside from the issue of squad depth, there are a number of key positions that need strengthening within the first team itself.
This is certainly the case for our right-back position. Converted right-winger Antonio Valencia is never found wanting for effort but is often found lacking in ability. Despite his willingness to put a shift in; the Ecuadorian is not a right-back. If anything, his presence points more to a lack of faith in Rafael than any real confidence in Valencia. It is inevitable that a new right-back joins the club this summer. Below are a number of candidates that could fit the bill.
Perhaps the obvious candidate given his contract standoff with current club Barcelona. At the end of the 2013-14 season the Catalan club were prepared to let the Brazilian wing-back’s contract expire due to mixed form and the belief that his best years were behind him. Fast forward a year, insert a transfer ban and Alves’ return to supreme form and Barcelona no longer want their long time servant to leave.
The player is less than happy with the club, claiming that he feels “undervalued” and has been in no rush to sign a new contract. The feeling is that a departure is almost certain; though the player has refused to give any indication, citing a desire to focus on the final few games of Barcelona’s season.
Stylistically speaking, Alves is a right-back by the loosest definition of the term, quite often spending the majority of his time in the opposition half; his attacking prowess being a marker of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in particular.
The Brazilian would be a substantial upgrade on United’s current right-back options, though he will need to adapt his game to suit this United team. Positives include his experience at the pinnacle of the European Game and the fact that he would not require a transfer fee.
Negatives include high wage demands and the short term nature of any possible deal. There seems to be a definite interest on United’s part. They could do a lot worse.
Suitability: More attacker than defender but a fantastic player.
Estimated Fee: Free Transfer
Dani Carvajal has been a stalwart on the right side of the Madrid defence since his return to the club in 2013; making 87 appearances in just two seasons for Los Blancos. The rampaging right back – a Madrid academy graduate – has made the position his own since his introduction to the first team; showing himself to be a more attacking option than Alvaro Arbeloa.
That is not to suggest the twenty-three-year-old is unable to defend; in fact Carvajal has a very well rounded game for a player that is still developing. He is every inch the modern day right-back. It all points to a very successful future in the game.
Despite his impressive performances, Madrid have recently purchased Danilo Da Silva from Porto with the intent of making him a part of their first team next season. This raises questions over the future of Carvajal. Even if the player himself wishes to stay and fight for his position, Real Madrid may yet make him available for transfer.
The positives in this deal are obvious. The player is young, has experience at the top of the European game and will only improve as he reaches his peak years. He could make the right-back position his own at United for the next ten years. He is already laughably better than anything United currently have.
However, his departure from Los Merengues is far from certain. It would still take a sizeable transfer fee to bring this player to Manchester.
Suitability: A perfect match for United.
Estimated Fee: £20-25Million