Man Utd could sign perfect Martinez partner with late move
Manchester United are seemingly pressing on in their pursuit of a new left-back with just a few days left in the transfer window, with Erik ten Hag seeking a much-needed solution amid his current injury crisis in that role.
Will Man United sign a left-back?
The Red Devils are currently in desperate need of a new addition on the left side of the defence having only recently lost Luke Shaw to injury for an extended period, with positional rival Tyrell Malacia also currently sidelined and promising asset Alvaro Fernandez in line for a loan departure.
With that in mind, Manchester Evening News journalist Tyrone Marshall has reported that Lyon’s Nicolas Tagliafico has ’emerged as an option’ of late for the Old Trafford outfit, with the club ready to ‘consider a loan move’ for the 30-year-old Argentine.
While have also been claims made that a permanent switch could be in the offing for the former Ajax man – with a £5m fee having been mooted in recent days – Marshall states that a ‘short-term deal’ is the preferred option for United in their bid to strengthen what has become a problem position.
The news comes amid the Red Devils’ plans to sign Sofyan Amrabat in the dying stages of the transfer window, with the Athletic’s David Ornstein revealing they are now ‘working’ on a deal.
How good is Nicolas Tagliafico?
The signing of his former players has been a recurring theme of Ten Hag’s time in Manchester thus far, with the Dutchman having previously snapped up the likes of Antony, Lisandro Martinez and Andre Onana over the past 12 months or so.
Whether that manager-led transfer policy is the best route to success remains to be seen, although there have been notable benefits with regard to the 53-year-old’s desire to reunite with familiar faces, with Martinez, in particular, having shone for the club to date.
Despite early concerns over the 5 foot 9 warrior’s height – with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher stating last year that the player “can’t work” as a centre-back in the Premier League – the 25-year-old went on to prove an “absolute monster” in the 2022/23 campaign, according to Shaw, having been arguably one of the club’s “best signings” in “years”, as per club legend Patrice Evra.
The diminutive defender could well be aided even further if he is to be joined by former Ajax teammate and international colleague, Tagliafico, on the left of defence, with the pair having lined up together in the past during their time under Ten Hag in Amsterdam.
Prior to leaving for France last summer, the full-back had contributed 39 goal involvements in 169 games while working with the current United boss for the Eredivisie giants, proving just what an attacking outlet he can be from the flanks – with Shaw, for instance, registering just 32 goals and assists in 262 games for the Red Devils.
Not just a dynamic option in the final third, the £75k-per-week gem – who has also chipped in with seven goal contributions in 41 outings for his current side – can also benefit Martinez due to his defensive strength, as he notably ranks in the top 6% among his European peers for interceptions made per 90, as well as in the top 14% for tackles made per 90.
That is in fact again a better record than the aforementioned Shaw, with the stricken Englishman ranking in just the top 27% and the bottom 44% for those same two metrics, respectively, thus indicating the quality of player that Ten Hag could be set to bring to the club.
Having such an all-round “quality” presence like Tagliafico – as described by pundit Kevin Campbell – at left-back would be an exciting prospect alongside Martinez, with the two World Cup-winning compatriots potentially set to shine this season at the Theatre of Dreams if a deal can be agreed.
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