In a summer that is likely to see club captain Antonio Valencia and Italy’s Matteo Darmian both move, Manchester United could be left a little light at right-back.
It’s unlikely that they’d want to go into next season with just 20-year-old Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young, who turns 34 this summer, at the position, so as they bid to rebuild the squad right-back will be one of the priority positions.
Dream: Joao Cancelo
Dalot’s Portuguese compatriot Joao Cancelo would be the dream target, the perfect bridge player between Young and Dalot. At 24, he’s already played for clubs like Benfica, Valencia, Inter Milan, and Juventus, and is blossoming into one of the best right-backs in Europe at his current club.
United have already been linked with a move for the Portugal star, but would he want to leave Juventus? He gets to play for a team that at the moment has no competition for the league title and is a regular in the latter stages of the Champions League.
United offer no such guarantees of trophies, but if they can convince Cancelo that they are well and truly back, ready to challenge for top honours again, he might be tempted.
João Cancelo’s game by numbers vs. Atletico Madrid:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 12, 2019
83% pass accuracy
14 final third passes
7 ball recoveries
5 tackles won
4 chances created
0 goals conceded
Best full-back in world football right now? 🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/oLbjGvHGfR
Realistic: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
The likelier move at right-back is for Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has impressed all observers this season during a stellar campaign for Crystal Palace. He has shackled some of the Premier League‘s best wingers – across his first six games against the league’s ‘Big Six’ this season, he’d missed only three tackles of the 26 he attempted.
At 21 he’d be the sort of signing who could stay at the club for years, and also help someone like Dalot improve as the two would challenge each other for a spot in the first XI – though the club may ultimately have to move on from one of them. The young Englishman could cost upwards of £50 million, not a lot of money in today’s market, and would instantly add depth at a problem position.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the first player in Europe's top five leagues to make 100+ tackles this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 2, 2019
Still only *seven* players have successfully dribbled past him. 😳 pic.twitter.com/kJyNoXiBFM
Alternative: Rafael da Silva
United are already familiar with Lyon right-back Rafael, who played for the Manchester club for seven successful seasons, winning the Premier League title three times and enjoying a couple of seasons where he was the best player at his position in England.
Mourinho once said the club made a mistake when selling the Brazilian, who was a fan favourite at Old Trafford and remains a passionate United supporter. Rafael is still only 28, wouldn’t need any time to acclimatise to the club or the league, and, he’s out of contract this summer. As a player who could mentor Dalot, while slotting into right-back or even right wing when required, he’d be an astute, if surprising, signing for United.
Ole legend forever, nothing more ❤️❤️— Rafael da Silva (@orafa2) March 6, 2019
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