The Red Devils have conceded 29 goals this term, the same number as Crystal Palace and one more than Everton, and this has unsurprisingly lead to Erik ten Hag thinking about his defence. In fact, that department of the team has been giving the Dutchman headaches ever since he arrived at Old Trafford.
Last summer, Man Utd were hoping to offload former captain Harry Maguire to raise funds for a defender more suited to Ten Hag’s style but nothing ultimately materialised. Though much improved this term, Maguire is still not deemed to be quite at the level required to be a starter for the club.
That’s at least according to ESPN, which reports that Maguire and Victor Lindelof are candidates to be offloaded in the summer as part of a major remoulding of the defence. Lindelof recently had his one-year contract extension triggered and is reportedly in the talks over a proper new deal, but it seems that Ten Hag would nevertheless be open to selling him.
Man Utd’s defensive revolution
Lindelof has been a key player for the Red Devils this term but, just like Maguire, the Swede has his obvious limitations. It is therefore unsurprising that he could be sold in the summer to help fund a move for an elite defender as none of the Red Devils’ targets will come cheap.
The likes of Matthijs de Ligt, who wants to leave Bayern in the summer, Jean-Clair Todibo and Antonio Silva will all command a pretty penny. Only Ko Itakura, whom the Red Devils are now interested in as FootballTransfers exclusively revealed, is a truly affordable option due to his €15 million summer release clause.
But it is not just Maguire and Lindelof who could be on the way out. On the contrary, the Red Devils’ entire backline could be unrecognisable come the new season. Raphael Varane’s deal is expiring and there has so far been no indication that the Frenchman would be open to penning a new contract on a reduced salary as United expect him to do.
Veteran Jonny Evans is even more likely to depart than Varane, with the 36-year-old always seen as a mere stopgap solution for this season. It is becoming evident that Ten Hag will have his work cut out to rebuild the Red Devils’ backline in the summer.