It’s fair to say that Manchester United’s defensive signings over the last five or six years have experienced varying degrees of success during their time at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling, purchased from Fulham has hinted at becoming the next United defender to take on the leadership mantle left behind by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, but the England international has struggled at various times during his tenure at United. Phil Jones has spent large swathes of his five seasons at Old Trafford injured, meaning consistency is the last thing that could reasonably be expected of him.
Marcos Rojo, purchased from Sporting Lisbon two years ago has also struggled for form and fitness, whilst Matteo Darmian may be heading out of the club after barely a year having seemingly failed to convince Jose Mourinho that he can be the club’s starting right back. Eric Bailly, at least, purchased from Villareal this summer and the Portguese’s first signing since taking charge of the club, has been an excellent addition and is now arguably the club’s strongest centre back, given his strength, commanding presence and ability.
Of course, with the January transfer window just around the corner, and United’s name constantly and consistently linked with players all over the globe, reports of who the club could sign are always rife. And according to one British paper, you can add two more players who are apparently of great interest to United to the ever-expanding pile.
The Mirror is reporting a slightly ambitious option for United in the shape of Bayern Munich’s David Alaba who Real Madrid reportedly bid €65m for in the summer. The Austrian, who has been with the German giants and Bundesliga giants for the entirety of his professional career, has only recently signed a new contract at the Allianz Arena, and given that he has already made 17 appearances for the club this season, it’s about an unlikely a deal as they come.
The same article also mentions that United are keeping an eye on Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Baumgartlinger, also a compatriot and international teammate of Alaba. The Austrian only joined Bayer last summer, and could prove less tricky to prise from the German team than Alaba, but both deals, despite the Mirror’s assertion that United have been scouting the players, have a whiff of difficulty to them. The suggestion appears to be that Alaba would be drafted into United’s defence, with Baumgartlinger brought into defensive midfield. Both of these areas will require strengthening sooner or later, but time will tell if these rumours stay in their current form or develop into something more substantial.