Five defenders who could transfer to Man Utd this summer

James Shearman 4 Jul 2022 18:12 BST 4 min read
Tyrell Malacia, PSV, 2021/22

Manchester United's 2021-22 season was a disaster, starting the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and ending with the failure to qualify for the Champions League under interim coach Ralf Rangnick.

The signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane were supposed to transform the club into title contenders, but that didn't transpire.

Instead, United got worse, and even more big-money signings will need to be made in this summer's transfer window by new manager Erik ten Hag to close the gap to rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.

The defence was particularly concerning, as captain Harry Maguire came under an incredible amount of criticism for his consistently poor performances.

So, which five defenders could the Red Devils sign this summer to fix their backline?

Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)

Matthijs de Ligt has previously been considered Ten Hag's ideal choice for the defence, having worked successfully with him at Ajax, and they could go back in for him.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich are now leading the race for him, with the Blues making him their number on target while the player is keen to join Bayern. However, Man Utd could make a late swoop.

Big things were expected of De Ligt when he broke through at Ajax, helping the record Dutch champions to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in the 2018/19 season at the tender age of 19.

Injuries have disrupted his progress since he swapped Amsterdam for Turin, although, he has managed to surpass the 100-appearance mark in three seasons at Juventus.

Matthijs De Ligt, Juventus, 2021/22

Juve would prefer to keep De Ligt but they could sell for a huge offer in order to strengthen the overall team which needs just about as much work as Man Utd's itself.

Pau Torres (Villarreal)

Man Utd have been interested in Pau Torres for a couple of years now and are back in for the Spain centre back this summer.

Torres was one of the best defenders in the Champions League this past season as Villarreal made it to the semi-finals.

Pau Torres, Villarreal, 2021/22

His agents travelled to England last week to begin talks with Man Utd and this is a deal that can potentially be done.

Ten Hag has approved the move as he likes his centre back's to be good on the ball like the left-footed Spaniard.

Tyrell Malacia

This move is expected to be completed very soon, with Tyrell Malacia joining Man Utd from Feyenoord.

The left-back was close to signing for Lyon after the French side had a big accepted by Feyenoord, but Man Utd were aware of the situation and bettered the offer Lyon had presented to win the race for his signature.

Finalising the deal is all that's left to do, with Malacia expected to immediately provide competition for Luka Shaw at full-back. Alex Telles may be sold following Malacia's arrival.

Lisandro Martinez

Similar to Malacia, Man Utd saw interest in Lisandro Martinez, notably from Arsenal, and acted following the emergence of such news.

Mikel Arteta's side are fully in the race to sign him, but Man Utd have increased their interest in Martinez and have begun actively pursuing a deal for the versatile defender.

Lisandro Martinez, Ajax, 2021/22

Martinez, who can play centre-back, left-back or even in midfield, is admired by Ten Hag, who is keen to add defensive reinforcements to his squad.

Man Utd have now held positive talks with Martinez and are confident of striking an agreement with Ajax and the player.

His arrival could suggest Ten Hag may move to a back-three, although he could simply replace Harry Maguire at centre-back.

Jurrien Timber (Man Utd)

The latest talisman to come out of the Ajax academy, Jurrien Timber has already made more than 50 appearances for his side at the tender age of 21.

Timber can play across the defence, however he primarily features at centre-back and has already received seven caps from the Dutch national team including three at Euro 2020.

A candidate for European Golden Boy, Timber has been suggested as one of the players who incoming Man Utd manager Ten Hag could bring with him to the club next season.

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