- 30 May
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Man Utd move for Trippier is shelved for now, but do the Red Devils need him?
Man Utd were reportedly close to bringing Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier back to the Premier League before the England international was handed a 10-week ban by the Football Association.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were lining up a potential move for the former Burnley and Tottenham right-back until he was handed a worldwide ban for breaching betting regulations, which has subsequently been put on hold pending an appeal.
Trippier’s possible suspension was enough to put the Red Devils off from making a move for the 30-year-old this January, but should Solskjaer rekindle his interest in the summer?
Do United need another right-back?
It was only 18 months ago that the current league leaders spent a huge £50m acquiring the services of ex-Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The 23-year-old has made a solid start to life at Old Trafford, helping the club return to the Champions League in his maiden campaign, and is now playing his part in their title tilt this time around. However, major doubts still linger over the Englishman’s attacking qualities, compared to the likes of Trippier.
It’s no secret that Wan-Bissaka’s strengths lie in his defensive abilities. His 28 successful tackles this season is the ninth highest number in the division, and the pacey defender has only been dribbled past a mere nine times throughout 2020/21.
Unfortunately for United’s No.29, the modern full-back is increasingly judged on their output in the final third, rather than the defensive one.
His solitary assist in the current league campaign is actually outperforming his Expected Assists of 0.5, according to fbref.com. Trippier, on the other hand, has made five goals during his 14 La Liga outings this term.
The disparity in the two Englishman’s qualities is clear for all to see. While Tripper has produced 36 shot-creating actions this season, Wan-Bissaka has only managed 20. Contrastingly, the United man has tackled 55 opponents compared to Trippier’s 36.
If United want to continue their rise and maintain their upward trajectory, then improving the attacking contributions of their full-backs could be crucial. Whether United give the former England u-21 international more time to improve in this area remains to be seen, but it appears they are ready to at least search for an alternative option who can provide more attacking intent.
Would Atletico Madrid be willing to sell?
Trippier’s short time in Spain has been a success so far. He started all of Atleti’s Champions League group games this season and only missed out on two domestic encounters due to his potential ban.
With Diego Simeone’s side sitting pretty at the top of the La Liga table and favourites to win their first top-flight title since 2014, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to leave the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium at this moment in time.
But, with just 18 months left to run on Trippier’s current deal and a potentially lengthy suspension incoming, the Spanish giants could view the summer as the prime time to offload a player that cost them £20m in 2019.
Croatia’s Sime Vrsaljko is Atletico’s only other right-back, although his two appearances to date in 2020/21 suggest the 29-year old’s future may lie outside the capital club.
Therefore, a replacement would surely be needed before Trippier could depart, but Simeone is never one to shy away from changing up his squad and making tough decisions, and whether he allows the Englishman to leave in the coming months will be another one that the Argentine may have to make.