Jose Mourinho’s Need For A Centre Half At Manchester United Is Greater Than That Of Pep Guardiola At Manchester City

Posted: July 26, 2016 in Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Looking at the genuine first team choices available to the two managers it is Manchester United who need the likes of Raphael Varane, John Stones or Leonardo Bonucci, more than Manchester City.

Pep can boast the services of Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Jason Denayer, all of whom are current picks for their national squads. These, if no further signings are made, would probably be the four centre backs in the squad for next season.

Unfortunately, for City and Kompany, he is very injury prone and unless he can overcome this problem then a new signing will have to be made.

Mangala has never really found the form that convinced City to buy him and has been inconsistent to say the least. He did, however, seem to be coming into a bit of form towards the end of last season.

Otamendi is similar although he has been more consistent than Mangala and the problems have tended to be when the two have played together as neither has wanted to take on the leading role, both happy to sit and listen rather than stand and shout. This is another reason why Kompany is such a miss.

Denayer is a great prospect but Guardiola may consider him a touch young and inexperienced at this level. Having said that, he has been capped by Belgium and has had a couple of successful loan spells, so he isn’t far away.

Over at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho has no such luxury. He has Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and new signing Eric Bailly. Going into the new season with these four as the nominated centre backs would be, potentially, courting disaster.

Smalling has been the most consistent over the last couple of years but, as regular readers will be aware, I am not convinced. He certainly lacks the football brain needed to reach the top as a centre back and is still clumsy both in tackling and in possession.

Jones, like Kompany over at the Etihad, spends more time on the treatment table than on the pitch. On his few first team outings recently he has been abject and, on current form, is more likely to be sold than given a regular starting berth.

Rojo, who can also play left back apparently, is in very much the same situation as Jones. He has been injured but, on his return has shown absolutely nothing to convince either the fans or, more importantly, Jose Mourinho, that he can be an important contributor to the team.

Finally, Eric Bailly could turn out to be a world beater but even Mourinho has said that he is too young to have any great expectations placed on him just yet.

Of the potential signings being reported in the press only Leonardo Bonucci, at first glance, appears to be the finished article. Raphael Varane is not first choice in the Real Madrid team and what must be concerning for him is that the first choices are Sergio Ramos, a walking red card who is well past his best and Pepe, another walking red card who was never THAT good.

John Stones is certainly not worth the kind of money being bandied around at present but he does have the potential to be one of England’s best. Whether or not he is ready to go straight into the first team at either City or United remains to be seen and it may be this consideration which is preventing the two clubs from making their move. The fans would certainly expect to see a £50 million player starting every game.

So what happens? I don’t expect Manchester City to start the new season with the squad they have now and the same applies to Manchester United. It seems though that I am reading more about City’s attempts to sign a centre back than those made by United.

This needs to be addressed by Mourinho as United’s need is, as previously mentioned, greater than that of City.


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