Manchester United are looking to strengthen their defense in the coming weeks, and the priority is looking like being a right-sided center-back. There are several players on the list that United are interested in signing, and England center-back Marc Guehi has been revealed as one of those names. United has a long-standing interest in Guehi and is expected to look towards home-grown talent when Sir Jim Ratcliffe eventually completes his minority takeover at the club in the coming weeks.
Guehi has re-invented his career since leaving Chelsea for Palace in 2021. He has become a mainstay in the side during his time at the club and has also begun to break into the England set-up under Gareth Southgate. This is no easy feat considering the emphasis Southgate tends to put on his favorites in the England team during the last few seasons.
Manchester United are expected to lose Raphael Varane in either January or the summer, and there are still question marks over the future of Harry Maguire despite his recent resurgence in performances this season. It could be that they look to sign two right-sided center-backs. Jean-Clair Todibo is an option United has been heavily linked with, and it looks like an easy deal to do considering Jim Ratcliffe owns OGC Nice.
Guehi vs United’s Defenders:
Manchester United lacks a defender with raw pace at the back currently. Raphael Varane is rapidly declining in terms of his physical stature, and pace has never been a huge part of Harry Maguire’s game. It’s a vital attribute in an Erik ten Hag system due to the high line he likes to employ with his teams, and it will certainly be something he’s crying out for in the January Transfer Window or even the summer one.
Passing is also a massive requirement in an Erik ten Hag center-back. Guehi ranks the lowest in terms of progressive passes when compared to Manchester United’s defenders this season per 90 minutes. The Palace center-back has played significantly more minutes than Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, and Raphael Varane, but has the lowest number compared per 90.
Guehi also ranks lowest in terms of passes into the final third per 90 out of Lindelof, Maguire, and Varane this season. He does play in a Palace team that doesn’t have a lot of the ball, but they are not numbers that will set Manchester United fans alight. Especially when you compare them with Jean-Clair Todibo’s numbers.
Guehi vs Todibo:
When compared to Todibo, it’s more than clear to see the center-back Manchester United should be prioritizing. Todibo averages 4.77 progressive passes per 90 compared to 2.58 for Marc Guehi. Erik ten Hag loves his central defenders to have the ability to play forward in possession, and Todibo does it as well as any defender in Europe. The Frenchman also averages significantly more progressive carries per game than Guehi, which is another metric that gives him a fair edge over the Palace defender.
Defensively Todibo also has a higher percentage of tackles won, even factoring in that he attempts more tackles per game than Guehi on average. United would not be crazy to sign Marc Guehi, but they would be better suited to signing Jean-Clair Todibo. The Frenchman is cheaper than Guehi and his stats tell every story you’d expect in regards to what type of defender Manchester United requires. Manchester United needs Todibo as a requirement this January or the summer, and see if any deal can be done for Marc Guehi as a secondary option.
Manchester United has a list of right-sided defenders as previously mentioned, and there are other names on that list than Todibo and Guehi. Ousmane Diomande has been a revelation for Sporting Lisbon this season, and he’s a name that has popped up in the links to Manchester United recently. Diomande is everything you’d want from a top centre-back, and should ideally be ahead of Guehi and level with Todibo when it comes to who Manchester United should be looking to sign to replace Rapha Varane.
Antonio Silva is another option the Reds could look towards. Silva has had a tough couple of weeks for Benfica, especially last night in the Champions League, but he remains one of the defenders in Europe at current with the highest potential.
Giorgio Scalvini is another defender the club should be looking into. United have done business with Atalanta before for Rasmus Hojlund, and they could do a lot worse than enquiring about the Italian Scalvini in the coming months.
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