By Andy Jones
- Despite having the second best defence in the Premier League, Mourinho will be looking for defensive reinforcements this summer
- We look at some potential defensive arrivals this summer
It’s clear that defence is a key area for the manager to strengthen during the summer transfer window.
The serious injury to Marcus Rojo, who had become a key figure in defence, plus the fact that you cannot guarantee a run of games from Jones, Smalling and Shaw, suggests a huge rebuilding job for Mourinho.
Eric Bailly has proven to be a shrewd buy from Villarreal, but its inevitable that one or both of Jones and Smalling will leave in the summer, and the future of Luke Shaw looks pretty gloomy.
There is potential in the youth at the club with Timothy Fosu Mensah and Alex Tuanzebe, but they would need experienced players to help them progress.
Below we look at some potential arrivals this summer that could strengthen United’s backline.
Former United reserve team player of the year Keane has been linked with a return to the club in recent weeks, following a hugely successful season at Burnley, which has seen him break into the England squad.
Should United be genuinely interested in bringing the Stockport youngster back to Old Trafford, he’d surely choose the red devils over rivals Liverpool who have also reportedly shown interest.
Some United fans may be critical, citing that, in a similar scenario to Paul Pogba, he shouldn’t have been allowed to leave in the first instance.
The fact that Keane is English and would increase the quota of homegrown players would also count in his favour.
Likelihood 8/10 Potential Impact 6/10
Swedish international Lindelof has also been linked with a move to United, which has carried over from the previous transfer windows.
The 22 year old currently plays for Benfica in Portugal where he has made 46 appearances, in a team who are course for another Primeira League title, the clubs fourth in succession.
Perhaps the only thing which counts against the Swede is his age, which is still relatively young for a defender, and you could argue that United need proven internationals who would bring a presence to the team.
Age is only a number, you only have to look at Juventus’ back five this season to prove there is nothing quite like experience at the top-level.
Likelihood 7/10 Potential Impact 7/10
Brazilian international Marquinhos is another centre back linked with the club in recent weeks.
With 102 appearances for Paris St Germain, and 17 international caps at the relative young age of 22, he would bring experience to the team.
He models his game on fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva, and despite not being the tallest at 6ft, he is quick and agile, and can also play as a right back.
The Brazilian wouldn’t come cheap, with cash rich Paris St Germain not desperate to sell, and looking to recoup all if not more of the €31.4m they paid Roma for the player in 2013.
Likelihood 5/10 Potential Impact 8/10
The Spurs and England full back has found himself out of favour at White Hart Lane in recent weeks, promoting media speculation that the player might look to continue his career elsewhere.
Proven in the Premier League, Walker is renown for his pace and ability to link defence into attack, something which United’s full backs have struggled to do in recent seasons.
Spurs chairman Levy has already made noises about any potential sale, so don’t expect any deal to be cheap, especially with a player in the peak of his career at 26
Likelihood 6/10 Potential Impact 7/10
Vastly experienced at both club and international level, Uruguayan Godin would be a prefect fit for United.
Still only 31, he has played in Spain for Villarreal and Athletico Madrid, and has over 100 caps for Uruguay.
Although he would perhaps only be a short-term fix, for maybe three seasons, he would be the ideal player to partner Eric Bailly as the Ivorian develops into a world-class centre back.
Likelihood 6/10 Potential Impact 9/10