The left-back position has been a problem area for Manchester United for years now. Ever since Patrice Evra left the club in 2014, United have struggled to find his successor. Luke Shaw was roped in to fill that void but a combination of injuries, misfortune and inconsistent form has seen him fail to convince everyone at Old Trafford in that position.
As a result, the Red Devils have been trying to sign another left-back all summer to strengthen the department. The pursuit of Sergio Reguilón this summer was unsuccessful after United failed to agree terms with Real Madrid and FC Porto’s Alex Telles has now emerged as the main target for the position. However, here we have a look at a few other alternatives should the Telles deal also collapse.
Arguably one of the most exciting left-backs in world football at present, German international Robin Gosens has been enjoying life in Serie A with Atalanta. The 26-year-old has been with the Italian club since 2017 and has played a big role in making them one of Europe’s most exciting attacking team’s last season.
His tally of 10 goals and eight assists across all competitions for Atalanta speaks for itself. That said, his propensity to bomb forward at the first given opportunity often leaves the defence short at the back, which is something United will be wary of. With that in mind, if it’s an all-action left-back they are in search for, there’s perhaps no better option than Gosens, who enjoyed a stellar campaign last time around and also made his international debut for Germany this year.
The quality that David Alaba would bring to any team doesn’t really have to be highlighted. The Austrian defender has been an integral member of Bayern Munich’s backline for almost a decade and he continues to be heavily involved for the German champions. A versatile defender capable of slotting in at the left centre-back position as well as left-back, Alaba would offer a lot of balance to the United team in general.
Getting him from Munich, though, will never be easy despite the Austrian being at loggerheads with the Bayern board over his new contract for some time now. At 28 years of age, Alaba has a lot to offer still and would vastly improve United’s often fragile defence. His penchant for goal-scoring is another attribute that United defenders have lacked in recent years.
If United want to think outside the box then Argentine left-back Nicolás Tagliafico makes for a smart choice. A technically gifted and experienced player, Tagliafico would offer United something on both ends of the pitch. The Ajax left-back never needs a second invitation to gallop forward on the overlap and scored five goals as well as provided seven assists for the Dutch giants last season.
He’s the same age as Telles and Ajax’s strong relationship with United – that’s already seen Donny van de Beek make the move from Amsterdam to Manchester this summer – could help when it comes to securing a deal. Even though he may not be a certain starter at United, adding Tagliafico to United’s squad would undoubtedly make for a quality acquisition who would increase competition for places in the team.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Javier Soriano