Xtabella's Blog



Friday, 26 April 2019


Manchester United have conceded more goals than any other top-six side, but is there a transfer target of Virgil van Dijk's calibre who could solve their defensive woes?
United suffered their seventh defeat in nine games in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday - highlighting defensive frailties that were flagged by former boss Jose Mourinho at the start of this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has promised a summer rebuild and is likely to start where his predecessor left off - looking to draft a world-class central defender who can have a similar impact to that of Van Dijk at Liverpool.
"He needs to get some players in. Proper defenders," former United captain Roy Keane told Sky Sports.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool for £75m in January last year and has transformed the club's solidity at the back - helping his side concede a league-low 20 goals and keep a league-high 19 clean sheets during their title charge.
Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt partners Van Dijk with the Netherlands, although the 19-year-old is in demand and linked with a blockbuster move to join team-mate Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona.
The teenager was awarded last year's Golden Boy award - given by sports journalists to the most impressive youngster in Europe - and has helped guide his side to the Champions League semi-finals.
Having already racked up 15 senior caps for his country, he has only missed three games in all competitions this season and played almost every minute of every game.
His stats suggest remarkable likenesses to Van Dijk, matching the Liverpool captain for tackles, interceptions, passing accuracy and aerial duels won.
Varane has been at Real Madrid for eight years now but has reportedly told team-mates he will be leaving the Bernabeu this summer and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
While his fitness may be a concern, having missed a quarter of Real's games over the past six seasons with numerous injuries, the France international is also contracted with Madrid until 2022 - so the price tag could negate interest.
However, Varane offers top-level experience at domestic and international levels, while his stats are on par with Van Dijk - despite being less likely to build possession from the back in Madrid's system.

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