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Perfect pair with Martinez: Man Utd eye move for “superb” £30m gem who’s as creative as Bruno

One of the key issues that Erik ten Hag—or a potential new manager—will need to address this summer is the left-back position. Manchester United has lacked a reliable option in that role for much of 2024.

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With Tyrell Malacia missing the entire season and Luke Shaw limited to just 15 appearances, the Red Devils have struggled without a seasoned left-back. Players like Sofyan Amrabat, Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have all filled in, but none are natural fits for the position.

Despite Ten Hag’s praise of Shaw as the “best left-back in the world,” he acknowledged Shaw’s injury history prevents him from playing 60 games a season. This highlights the need for a strong competitor and understudy for Shaw this summer.

Man Utd Seeking Long-Term Left-Back Solution

According to journalist Rudy Galetti from TEAMtalk, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS are eager to revamp United’s defense for the next season, with Girona’s Miguel Gutierrez being one of seven potential targets.

United is reportedly monitoring Gutierrez, who has a £30 million release clause in his current contract. The 22-year-old Spaniard, a Real Madrid academy product, was previously a target during Jose Mourinho’s tenure between 2016 and 2018, and United may renew their interest in him soon.

How Miguel Gutierrez Could Fit at Man Utd

Praised as a “superb” talent by scout Jacek Kulig, Gutierrez could be an ideal successor to Shaw at Old Trafford. He impressed during a stellar La Liga campaign, helping Girona secure an unexpected Champions League spot. An attack-minded full-back, Gutierrez scored twice and provided seven assists in 35 La Liga games.

His seven assists were second only to Bruno Fernandes (eight) among United players in the Premier League for the 2023/24 season, indicating the attacking threat he could bring to the FA Cup winners. Gutierrez created 21 big chances this season in La Liga, matching Fernandes’ total, despite the latter playing as a number ten.

A promising partnership with Lisandro Martinez on the left could give Gutierrez the freedom to attack, with Martinez providing defensive cover. Data analyst Ben Mattinson highlighted Gutierrez’s strengths: “quality on the ball, composure, and excellent passing ability.” However, Gutierrez’s defensive work needs improvement, as he ranks low in tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes among his European peers.

Martinez, hailed as a “monster” by Shaw, could compensate for Gutierrez’s defensive shortcomings. Both players are strong in possession, with Gutierrez in the top 6% for pass completion and Martinez in the top 5% among center-backs. This could allow them to interchange positions seamlessly, with Gutierrez inverting and Martinez covering as needed.

A stable and well-coordinated combination of Gutierrez and Martinez could be the solution Manchester United needs. Finding a reliable partner for Martinez at left-back, as well as at right center-back, is essential for the team’s success this summer.

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