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Opinion: Manchester United need a whole new defence

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United - Premier League
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Manchester United played their worst game under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, losing 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s flying start at Old Trafford is over, and the Norwegian is facing his first problems as Manchester United boss.

Solskjaer has been appointed as a permanent manager of the Red Devils one week ago, but United didn’t play at the satisfying level in the games against Watford and Wolverhampton since then.

His second Premier League defeat came on Tuesday night, as the Red Devils lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

However, it isn’t just the result that should worry Solskjaer, but the way his team played the game, especially in defence.

We believe he is going to need at least 4 or 5 players to make a competitive team for the next season. But let’s start with the defence – the most vulnerable part of Manchester United’s first team.

Central defenders

The Red Devils don’t have a world class central defender and that a fact. They’ve got Chris Smalling and Phil Jones – with all due respect, the luckiest defenders in Europe.

These two guys are almost for a decade at Old Trafford, they haven’t improved a bit since their arrival and somehow they still play first-team football for the club.

How is that even possible? Where did the Manchester United standards go? They used to have defenders like Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Steve Bruce, Jap Saam, Gary Pallister… now they have Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly can play an excellent game, but they are not constant and you cannot rely on players like that.

And we don’t even want to talk about Marcos Rojo. He’s played only four games for the club this season and it is more than obvious he doesn’t have the quality to represent Manchester United.

So Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs at least two central defenders, as the ones he’s got at the moment are not good enough.

Toby Alderweireld at £25m is a must-buy for Manchester United. He is an experienced defender, who knows the Premier League. The Belgian would make an immediate impact, and even help Lindelof and Bailly to improve their game in future.

Solskjaer could also try to sign Kalidou Koulibaly or Raphael Varane, as the French defender may be looking for Real Madrid exit in the following summer. These guys would cost a lost, but United need to invest in their squad if they want to come back to the top of English football.

Pep Guardiola did exactly the same thing at Manchester City. He bought two central defenders and three full-backs and went on to dominate the Premier League in his second season with the Citizens.


Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian will probably leave the club in the summer, leaving Solskjaer with only three options: Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young.

This means United will need to go shopping for full-backs. Let’s say Luke Shaw can retain his place in the first team, even though he’s got to do more defensively. The Red Devils would still miss a world-class right-back.

Dalot is still too young to play in the starting eleven, while Young will be 34 at the start of the next season.

The biggest problem for Ole is that there aren’t many options in the transfer market. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the logical solution for the Red Devils, as the 21-year old defender has proved he has the potential to become a world class player in future.

They could also go for Joao Cancelo, but we don’t see any reason why would he leave Juventus to join Manchester United.

Other positions

United don’t have a proper right winger, probably since Cristiano Ronaldo. They just have to buy Jadon Sancho. He is young, quick, excellent with the ball, he can dribble, score and assist.

Sancho is the prototype of a modern winger, plus he is English. He would be a perfect signing for the Red Devils, as they would secure the position for the next decade.

Solskjaer also has to invest in the midfield. Ander Herrera is probably on his way to PSG, while Fred is obviously not good enough.

Bruno Fernandes is the player who is linked with a move to Old Trafford, but we believe his compatriot, Ruben Neves would be a better fit for Manchester United.