ON THE DEFENSIVE

Manchester United, in need to backup their future as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic’s career grew towards the twilight, threw their money at Chris Smalling seven years ago. Throughout his professional life the former Fulham man gave out displays that showed that he was capable of being a decent reliable defender and had potential to be up there with the very best. Smalling is known for his ability to read games, his positional sense and his penchant to start forward plays right out of the defence.

However, despite all these attributes, it is safe to say that the Englishman failed to become the player with which United can build their ever wavering future on. It can be argued that the troubling post-Ferguson era would have been too much for any player to handle, but the thing is, it is in the moments of great adversities that players prove themselves the most – and the Englishman utterly failed to do so.
There is a reason each coach that joined the fray at Old Trafford since the legendary Scot’s departure has made the signing of a new centre-back his priority – the ones they met (including Smalling) simply weren’t good enough.

For all his brains, the English man’s greatest shortcoming has been an abject lack of brawn. You need to see him in man-to-man physical duels and how speedy attackers take him for a ride. For a league like the EPL, such shortcomings are hardly forgiven, and it’s no wonder that Manchester United wern’t anywhere near the favourites on the BetVictor market for the most clean sheets in a season.

One look at summer signing Eric Bailly and you will see everything the English man lacks in strength and steel, while another look at David Blind – who isn’t even world class – shows everything Smalling lacks in his supposed ‘brains’ territory. With better defenders sure to join them in the coming transfer window, it’s high time the pretender finds his way out of Old Trafford.

One player United will be hoping to keep hold of this summer – and a fundamental part of their tight defence – is goalkeeper David De Gea, who has become one of the very best in the World at Old Trafford, who is constanstly being linked to a move to Real Madrid.

In the summer of 2015 David De Gea’s first attempt at a move to Real Madrid was halted due to a shady sense of judgment by the officials in charge of the transfer – and a broken fax machine!? Luckily for Manchester United, the Spain international went about his club duties without much hassle, signed a new deal and even ended up as their best player of the season.

When the 27-year old joined the Mancunians in 2011, he most certainly would have come with the mind of joining arguably the greatest team in English football and of course winning titles. This justification wasn’t due to all players desiring to win trophies but solely because the Spaniard’s goalkeeping skills deserve to be archived alongside medals.

Real Madrid has never hidden their love for the young man who used to man the sticks of their cross town rivals and as far as the gods of football marriages the Madrid-born and Florentino Perez-owned club remain a perfect match. In De Gea, the Galaticos have a cool head to steer them away from the goalkeeping fracas former manager Jose Mourinho triggered on his way out. Given his age, a plausible 10 more years between the sticks is not out of place. Madridstas enjoyed the stability provided by Iker Casillas and would love nothing more to witness such insurance once more.

De Gea in turn would be much better off financially, as well as being well away from the headache of dealing with incompetent defenders who make his job harder! With Sergio Ramos and Varane in front of him he will have more time to concentrate on doing his job of protecting the goal-line than having to bark at his supposed protectors. And of course he will have the opportunity to lift trophies befitting of his talents.

If the current feeds churned out by tabloids are anything to go by, Los Blancos seem to be back in for their man. United need to hold strong if they are to compete for the title next season.

Comments are closed.