Man United FC

Rio Ferdinand identifies two defenders Manchester United should consider signing

Rio Ferdinand delves into Manchester United’s defensive woes and discusses potential solutions, highlighting Lens’ Kevin Danso and Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo as ideal candidates to bolster the back four.

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As Manchester United seeks an athletic center-back for next summer, concerns persist about Raphael Varane’s injury proneness, and Lisandro Martinez has undergone two surgeries on his right foot this year.

While there’s uncertainty surrounding Harry Maguire’s long-term future despite his recent resurgence, Jonny Evans’s contract is set to expire in the summer, and Victor Lindelof’s contract also runs out in June, though United has the option for an additional year.

Ferdinand is particularly keen on Kevin Danso, a 25-year-old who once received a red card playing for Southampton against United in August 2019 but played a vital role in helping Lens secure a Champions League qualification.

He also highlights Ronald Araujo, a 24-year-old Uruguayan enforcer who is a defensive mainstay at Barcelona.

“The lad at Lens, he’s a good prospect,” Ferdinand shared with the Manchester Evening News. “The Uruguayan lad at Barcelona – Araujo.

He’s an absolute gem. He possesses all the attributes to excel in the Premier League. He’s my top choice, but whether he’s attainable is another matter.”

Although Manchester United had the highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League last season, they have already conceded 13 goals in 11 games this season, resulting in a goal difference of -2.

Martinez is expected to be sidelined until late November as he recovers from a metatarsal injury, while Varane is currently fit.

Ferdinand emphasizes the importance of a solid defense as the foundation of a successful team and the need for consistent player selection, especially in crucial stages of the season. He points out that United hasn’t enjoyed such continuity.

“Martinez’s absence has been a significant blow. His personality, character, and ball-playing ability align perfectly with what Ten Hag desires and United performed at their best last season when the two were on the pitch together,” Ferdinand explains.

“However, every injury presents an opportunity for someone else, and currently, Harry Maguire appears to have seized that opportunity. Hopefully, his form continues.”

Varane has missed 35 games out of a possible 123 for Manchester United, and his fitness management is becoming a key concern.

Ferdinand draws parallels with his own experience of managing games and training towards the latter stages of his career.

While Varane’s situation is unique, the former England international emphasizes the importance of the manager’s role in game-time management.

Today’s players are highly conditioned athletes, and some, like Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric, continue to excel into their late 30s.

Ferdinand concludes, “Raphael’s situation, like that of every player, is unique, but game-time management plays a significant role.

With Sir Alex Ferguson, we had many discussions about this, especially in the lead-up to important games. Preparation and self-management were key to ensuring readiness for those crucial matches.”

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