Manchester United are now on the lookout to strengthen their central defence with Harry Maguire’s exit from Old Trafford looking to be nearing completion.
MEN Sport understands the Reds have accepted a bid from West Ham for their former captain and ultimately this appears to be a wise move for all involved. For United, attention now turns to who they will sign to replace him.
It is believed Jonny Evans is not a strong enough candidate to replace Maguire permanently despite having signed a short-term contract so as to be eligible for United’s summer tour. Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba are both thought to be on the radar.
Rumours are also circulating regarding Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard. German media outlets have claimed the 27-year-old is increasingly unhappy at the Bavarian club and would be open to a move away from the Bundesliga.
Pavard is thought to favour the centre-back position which will perhaps surprise fans who still remember his sublime strike for France at the 2018 World Cup. During this tournament, he was sensational in the right-back role and captured the world’s attention with his performances.
If Pavard was to sign as a direct replacement for Maguire he would, at least initially, struggle to out either Raphael Varane or Lisandro Martinez in the starting XI. Both central defenders have earned the trust of Ten Hag and it would be difficult for a new signing to break this partnership.
However, at right-back it is clear United’s Dutchman is unsure who to start with. Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have both enjoyed stints as first choice but neither man has managed to make the position their own.
Should Pavard sign though, he would provide a new option for Ten Hag to pursue and perhaps cement himself in the starting XI there. Eventually, the Frenchman will replace Varane in central defence but in the meantime filling in at right-back would help solve an issue which the manager is currently grappling with.
Neither Dalot nor Wan-Bissaka did enough during pre-season to earmark themselves as the No. 1 right-back so the addition of Pavard could ultimately allow Ten Hag to sell one of the United duo to help boost his transfer budget for the remainder of the summer or January.
Either way, Pavard’s versatility is an asset which United could afford to have and would add more than just being a Maguire replacement to the squad.
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