De Ligt, Torres & five options to replace Harry Maguire at Man Utd

James Shearman Updated: 22 Jun 2022 20:44 CEST 4 min read
Harry Maguire, Man Utd

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has come in for heavy criticism over the past two seasons.

And now, new manager Erik ten Hag is looking for defensive reinforcements to compete with the England international.

United spent £80 million (€95m) on Maguire in signing him from Leicester in 2019, but he has so far failed to produce at the highest level.

So, the Reds Devils are once again expected to spend big on a centre-back, and here are five of the top targets that could peak Ten Hag's interest.

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 weeks ago 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-backs to be good on the ball like the left-footed Spaniard.

Matthijs de Ligt

Matthijs de Ligt is considered ten Hag's ideal choice for the defence, having worked successfully with him at Ajax.

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.

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.

Milan Skriniar

Milan Skriniar has been linked with Man Utd before, with the big Slovak telling his nation's FA in 2018 that: "Manchester United? I heard from them, and it made me proud. But I'm even happier that Inter decided to reject it and that they believe so much in me."

Four years later and Inter continue to believe in Skriniar, who has played more minutes than any other outfield player at the San Siro.

But might he be ready for another move after more than 200 Nerazzurri appearances?

Josko Gvardiol

One central defender who is making quite a name for himself in European football currently is RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol.

He has been owned by the German side for two years but spent the first back on loan at Dinamo Zagreb.

He has made the step up to the Bundesliga with ease and is equally as adept at playing left-back as centre-back.

Dayot Upamecano

Dayot Upamecano is a physical specimen, one who famously outpaced the turbo-charged Timo Werner in training when the pair were RB Leipzig teammates.

However, the young Frenchman has endured a dip in form - not quite to Maguire proportions - and found himself on the bench for parts of the 2021-22 season.

In fact, the Borussia Dortmund-bound Niklas Sule often took his place at the heart of Bayern's defence.

A 23 years of age, and with a four-year contract still to run, Upamecano would still set United back some.

But he is already a France international teammate of Raphael Varane's, who could be key to unlocking Upamecano's potential at club level.