A return of simply 22 objectives from 20 Premier League video games this season has unsurprisingly shone the highlight on Manchester United‘s attacking ranks of late, but it’s honest to say that the defensive unit additionally seems in want of reinforcement in 2024.
Within the Champions League, particularly, the Purple Devils appeared somewhat shaky after conceding 15 goals of their six group-stage video games – the worst file of any English membership within the competitors’s historical past.
One notable difficulty has been Erik ten Hag‘s lack of ability to decide on an everyday centre-back pairing attributable to damage, having even been compelled to deploy veteran summer time signing, Jonny Evans, way more continuously than was anticipated.
Not solely have the likes of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane been struck down by damage or sickness on quite a few events, however with the trio all in and round their thirties, a extra long-term resolution must be discovered as a precedence.
Whereas Lindelof has seen his deal extended at Outdated Trafford in current days, Varane, in the meantime, is at the moment free to debate a potential pre-contract settlement with overseas golf equipment, with his deal set to expire this summer.
That somewhat brutal transfer to not hand the World Cup winner an extension would counsel that United are already starting to consider changing him within the close to future, with Italian starlet Giorgio Scalvini seemingly a type of being lined up at current.
Man Utd switch information – Giorgio Scalvini
As per reviews in Spain that emerged final week, the Purple Devils are believed to be willing to fork out the €50m (£44m) fee that may be required to set off the 20-year-old’s launch clause, with Ten Hag and co seeking to beat Actual Madrid to the teenager’s signature.
The most recent indication is that the Outdated Trafford facet view Jean-Clair Todibo as their “important goal” for the place – as per transfer expert Rudy Galetti – but Scalvini might signify a worthy different, having emerged as a “top talent” of late, based on switch guru Fabrizio Romano.
As per the Spanish sources, United might look to make their transfer for the Atalanta ace this month, somewhat than wait till the summer time, with that more likely to come as a well timed increase at a time when the Premier League giants are floundering exterior the highest 4.
Giogio Scalvini’s fashion of play
Already capped seven times by his nation at senior stage regardless of his relative youth, the 6 foot 4 colossus has unsurprisingly caught the eye of these on the Theatre of Goals, having established himself as a key determine in Bergamo of late.
With 76 first-team appearances underneath his belt up to now – wherein he has scored 4 objectives and contributed three assists – the rising gem has rapidly caught the attention of his teammates, with ex-Arsenal man Sead Kolasinac only recently stating:
“I’m struck by the maturity of his 19 years. He reads the sport nicely, he is aware of what to do with the ball, defend one-on-one, tips on how to use his physique in marking: it is good to have him alongside in defence.
“However to begin with he is an effective man, even humble: if he does not lose this character, he can have an awesome profession.”
What’s extra, the towering asset can also be believed to share a likeness to 1 former United man, within the type of Gerard Pique – based on expertise scout Jacek Kulig – having been praised as a ‘complete, elegant and dominant centre-back‘.
Pique memorably started his senior profession underneath Sir Alex Ferguson after arriving from Barcelona in 2004, earlier than finally returning to Camp Nou 4 years later to ascertain himself as a key determine in a glittering interval of success for the La Liga facet.
Whereas it did not work out for the now-retired expertise in Manchester, his heroics in Catalonia showcased the blunder that Ferguson and co had made by letting him slip from their grasp, as he turned at one stage arguably the “best centre-back in the world” – as ex-teammate Carlos Puyol famous in 2018.
To assume that United might be capable of snap up the inheritor to the World Cup-winning rock is intriguing certainly, with Scalvini definitely a left-field choice that United ought to nicely contemplate.
How Scalvini compares to Varane
Very similar to Pique – who Puyol described as being in “complete control” on the pitch – what units Scalvini aside is his composure and high quality in possession, showcased by the truth that he ranks in the top 14% amongst these in his place in Europe’s high 5 leagues for progressive passes per 90.
Frequently seen driving out from the again with the ball at his ft, as a part of Atalanta’s most well-liked three-at-the-back system, the Chiari native additionally ranks in the top 13% for profitable take-ons per 90, additional proof of how comfy he’s at taking part in out from the again.
That’s in stark distinction to the person he might substitute – Varane – with the skilled defender arguably extra of an old-school defender than an asset on the ball, the 30-year-old ranking in just the top 28% and the highest 48% for those self same two metrics, respectively.
The Purple Devils have been linked with an curiosity within the proficient younger defender.
Such high quality on the ball doesn’t detract from Scalvini’s final aim of protecting the ball out of the online, nevertheless, as he additionally ranks within the high 1% for interceptions, the highest 8% for tackles and the highest 20% for aerial duels gained per 90.
Varane, however, ranks in simply the underside 9% for interceptions and the underside 14% for tackles made, in addition to in simply the highest 41% for aerial duels gained throughout the final 12 months, seemingly suggesting that the youthful man is performing significantly higher of late.
With the present United man additionally proving unreliable attributable to his common spells on the sidelines – having started just 29 league games for the reason that begin of 2022/23 – the Italian, in the meantime, has been a much more common decide underneath Gian Piero Gasperini, starting 44 times for the reason that begin of final time period.
Scalvini’s season by numbers (Serie A)
16 video games (15 begins)
81% cross accuracy charge
4 clear sheets
4.2 tackles and interceptions per sport
5.6 balls recovered per sport
62% whole duels gained
7.08 avg match ranking
For pretty much as good as Varane will be, the shortcoming to depend on him over a sustained interval is a urgent difficulty, with the ruthless determination to maneuver him on seemingly smart.
Whether or not Scalvini would be the man to switch him stays to be seen, but the Pique-esque expertise seemingly has the credentials to show a greater than satisfactory substitute, if not an improve.