Report: Manchester United in talks with OGC Nice over signing highly-rated defender

Toulouse FC v OGC Nice - Ligue 1
Toulouse FC v OGC Nice - Ligue 1 / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

According to a report from The Standard, Manchester United have established contact with OGC Nice over the potential signing of defender Melvin Bard.

Melvin Bard, 23, is already being discussed as a target to bolster Manchester United’s left-back unit. Part of OGC Nice since 2021, he has gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years and developed into a reliable player for the club. The left-back has played 26 times in Ligue 1 this season, assisting twice.

An attacking left-back, Bard has been impressive for Nice throughout the season and is pushing for his maiden call-up to the France national team ahead of the 2024 European Championships. While the Frenchman has a contract until 2026, there is every possibility of him leaving Allianz Riviera in the summer.

Manchester United had initially targeted a new right-back in January but now feel a left-back signing is more significant, considering the injury problems suffered by Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, the Standard adds.

Shaw has been in and out of the team due to muscle injuries but Malacia hasn’t featured at all this campaign, forcing Erik ten Hag to use Victor Lindelof and Sofyan Amrabat as a makeshift left-back. Thus, there is a renewed sense that Man United should bring in a new left-back to improve consistency in their backline—and Bard has been added to their list of summer targets.

Red Devil Armada’s verdict:

Man United’s injury woes have been there for all to witness this season, evidenced by the latest double setback of Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof. Injuries have massively hampered the team’s progression or consistency in defence, with all senior defenders spending time on the sidelines at some point barring Diogo Dalot.

The situation has been worse at left-back, with both Shaw and Malacia spending a significant period of the campaign on the treatment table. As a result, the club is putting plans in place to sign a new left-back, and Melvin Bard has emerged as a target.

Bard has enjoyed his best season in Ligue 1 this time around, as Nice failed to concede a single goal in two months through October and November. His impressive attacking displays have caught the attention of new minority owners Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, who have started identifying targets to bolster the squad in the summer. And given INEOS’ links with Nice, a potential deal for Bard could be done without much fuss.