Manchester United may need to invest on two central defenders this summer amid Lisandro Martinez’s injury record and the uncertainty over the future of Raphael Varane.
Martinez and Varane were manager Erik ten Hag’s preferred centre-back partnership in his first season in charge, but the frequency of them playing together has reduced.
Martinez spent the final months of last season on the sidelines after a foot fracture and he suffered a recurrence of the same problem at the start of the current campaign.
The Argentine recently made his comeback after a fresh surgery, but he is now out for at least eight weeks after suffering an unfortunate knee injury against West Ham.
The World Cup winner is undoubtedly United’s best central defender when fit and firing, but United may need to invest on another left-footed option to provide competition.
Luke Shaw has filled the void on occasions, but the club need another specialist for the role. In our view, Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite would be an ideal choice for the position.
The 21-year-old is a strong physical centre-back. He has won an impressive 5.4 duels and 2.1 tackles per league game this term alongside 4.5 clearances and 6.2 ball recoveries.
Branthwaite still has room for improvement with his distribution, but that should ideally happen with better players around him at United. He could be signed for €40 million this summer.
Meanwhile, United should also pursue a replacement for Varane. The Frenchman has likewise been injury prone and has been in-and-out of the starting line-up this campaign.
Ten Hag has preferred Harry Maguire over him on several occasions this term. The Englishman’s ability to win more ground and aerial duels could be a reason behind the choice.
Varane’s current €397,000-a-week deal expires in the summer. The club have decided against triggering a 12-month extension clause or discussing a new deal with a pay-cut.
The 30-year-old is ‘expected‘ to leave on a free transfer and in our opinion, Gleison Bremer could be signed from Juventus. The Brazilian is in the prime of his career at 26.
He is a strong powerful centre-back with a good aerial presence. This season, he has won 5.1 duels per Serie A game alongside 4.2 clearances and five ball recoveries. He has a passing accuracy of 87 per cent.
United are closely monitoring him at the moment and he could be prised away for €70m up front. In our opinion, the club should spend €110m on Branthwaite and Bremer this summer.
Stats from Sofascore.com, Transfermarkt.com & Capology.com
- Erik ten Hag sends clear warning to Antony with last-gasp substitution vs Fulham
- Antonio Valencia slams Manchester United’s performance against Fulham
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to sign Luton Town’s Ross Barkley to replace Casemiro
- Maguire impresses in Manchester United’s disappointing 2-1 defeat against Fulham
- Bruno Fernandes must step up for Man Utd in Champions League pursuit
- Andre Onana impresses for Man Utd in disappointing Fulham defeat
- Confirmed Man Utd line-up vs Fulham, Forson starts
- Predicted Man Utd line-up vs Fulham, Forson starts up front
- Omari Forson set for full Premier League debut after Rasmus Hojlund injury blow
- Man Utd without seven players for Fulham game after fresh injury blow