Manchester United have been linked with a host of top names throughout this summer in a number of positions. Having already spent the best part of £55M on the transfers of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw from Athletic Bilbao and Southampton respectively, United’s spending spree is set to continue.
Talks of bids for Arturo Vidal, Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay and other attacking options have been rife throughout the summer, but a key area that will need replenishing this transfer window is central defence. Rio Ferdinand has seemingly all but joined QPR while Nemanja Vidic is off to Inter Milan.
That leaves three options at the back for the upcoming season – Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. All three are established members of the first team now, but we need at least one other option. With rumours of bids for Thomas Vermaelen, Stefan De Vrij and Mats Hummels plenty of fans seem to be forgetting about one prospect we have ready to make his breakthrough into the first team – Michael Keane.
The young England defender has all the attributes to become a great centre back in the future. He’s big and strong, fantastic in the air and quick on the ground. He always looks comfortable on the ball and has a knack of being in the right place at the right time defensively. A true fit for Manchester United. At 21 years old, Keane is at the perfect age to break into the first team squad whilst not getting fidgety if he doesn’t get a run of games.
Vermaelen is an experienced international and current Arsenal captain. He will command a reported £11m fee on £100k per week wages. So with an academy prospect waiting in the wings, is Vermaelen really the better option? Vermaelen’s experience is something that is needed in central defence. Evans is 26, Jones 22 and Smalling 24.
Evans has now become the leader of the defence at such a tender age. Evans’ is incredibly underrated in the Premier League. Last season the Northern Irishman made 17 Premier League starts before injury cut short his season, conceding just one solitary foul. His positioning and ability to read the game make him by far and away our best centre back right now.
With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both good prospects, this season is the chance to make it at Manchester United. Each of them need an extended run in the side to establish their talent. Why splash out on a new defender when we have so much talent there already?
One reason for a possible expenditure would be the fact that our three current first team defenders are perma-crocked. All three missed a portion of the season through injury, so investment may be necessary in case the situation was to arise again. If we are going to purchase, I’d rather we went the route of a world class defender.
Throw everything at Dortmund for Mats Hummels or Porto for Eliaquim Mangala. That way any potential injuries to our current three mean we’re still covered by a world class defender and a top prospect at the back. Vermaelen’s injury record does not give much security either, let’s be honest.
Either way, Louis Van Gaal knows better than me. But surely it’s worth having a look at the elder Keane twin ahead of the unwanted Arsenal skipper.