Should Manchester United sign Toby Alderweireld?
Manchester United have already signed two players; Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos and Diego Dalot. Those deals were completed within 48 hours of each other. This is an absolutely superb start to the summer for Red Devils Vice-Chairman, Edward Woodward and confirming moves for the aforementioned duo deserves credit, particularly in a World Cup year.
Now, they should look forward to signing a right winger and a centre-back. Last term, Victor Lindelof was brought in due to his excellent on-ball ability. Things haven't quite worked out for the Ice Man, though. He's already made several costly mistakes.
It's quite absurd to notice that even after two seasons in charge, Jose Mourinho is still to establish a regular, reliable central-defensive pairing. The self-proclaimed Special One was almost switching the partnership up on a weekly basis, with the likes of Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Lindelof all garnering minutes. Still statistically, United boast the best defensive record in the league; largely thanks to David de Gea. If the Old Trafford club are setting their sights on winning major trophies in the upcoming season, they need to find the new Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand...
Thereby, the Portuguese boss is highly likely to sign a centre-half over the next few months. They have been linked to names aplenty. However, the story that keeps cropping up is Belgium defender, Toby Alderweireld, potentially heading North.
English football is always separated from other countries, due to it's highly-competitive, diverse nature. Often, Premier League clubs can become rather anxious about signing a player already plying his trade in the league. But, in reality, cross-country transfers tend to provide much more security. Alderweireld to United is similar to Romelu Lukaku's move from Everton. The Belgium international is proven, established and would walk straight into the XI. Additionally, he brings a tactical skillset that Mourinho just doesn't have at his disposal at the moment.
The Ferdinand-Vidic days are long gone. United have not had a proper leader who'll baulk orders from the back since. Alderweireld possesses the leadership qualities, while also bringing some much-needed experience to the Theatre of Dreams.
The Ivorian Bailly is a robust, aggressive defender who always plays on the front-foot. The former Villareal man loves a slide tackle, he'll also physically assert his will on opposing strikers, doing what he can to win back possession. The 24-year-old needs a calm, composed partner who can pass the ball, the yin to his yang. In the current squad, only Lindelof has those traits. He's obviously not ready for week-in-week-out football. Alderweireld is.
The Belgian's rich passing abilities will help United maintain a free-flowing 4-3-3; often initiating attacks through precise long balls from deeper areas. United have lacked this style of defender for years. Not only would Alderweireld bring more solidity, he'd take the burden off flair players like Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez due to his willingness to play out from defence.
Since arriving in England during the summer of 2015, the former Atletico Madrid man has certainly established himself as being amongst defenders in Europe. He was the reason why Spurs' defence became the best in the country during the two season's prior to 17/18. It comes as no surprise that Mauricio Pochettino's men began to leak goals while Alderweireld was sat on the substitutes bench.
Commeth Alderweireld. Commeth versatility. Another tick mark next to his name is the fact that it'd allow Mourinho to change system (if he so chooses). The three-at-the-back formations are becoming far more common. It's a formation that the 29-year-old excels within. Bringing him to Old Trafford is seemingly a no-brainer.
Alderweireld is clearly the missing piece of the puzzle for United's defence. We all know how much Mourinho loves to sign the ready-made player rather than nurturing and harnessing young talent. Signing the slick-haired Belgium international would represent great business for United, and he could well help to end their Premier League title drought...