Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Manchester United Eyeing A Move For This Bundesliga Defender: Is He The Right Fit At Old Trafford?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Manchester United’s shortlist of quality centre-backs seems to be growing by the day as Sokratis Papastathopoulos is the latest additions. The Borussia Dortmund man is being targeted for a summer move and Jose Mourinho will have a hard time prying the Greek international away from the Westfalenstadion.

Sokratis is expected to cost around £20m and United might face competition from local rivals, Chelsea. The 29-year-old has been a prominent figure in the Dortmund lineup ever since Mats Hummels’ departure for Bayern Munich.

It was the current Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, who had signed Sokratis to the Bundesliga giants right after the 2012/13 season. The centre-back took a bit of time to adjust to the standards of the Bundesliga title challengers but soon found his feet as a regular starter.

He has appeared in 34 games this season and has netted the ball on 3 occasions.

Sokratis is one of the traditional centre-halfs who have adapted themselves to the requirements of modern football. While timed challenges and physical battles are his forte, the Greek international does not shy away from putting in an offensive shift. His ability to maintain and distribute possession from the back is what sets him apart from the crowd and could prove fruitful in a United jersey.

Phile Jones has struggled to find a consistent bit of form and very unimaginatively guided in Kevin Trippier’s grounded cross into his own goal in the 0-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on 1st February.

Chris Smalling has also been an uninspiring presence and lacks in the sharpness department when the game is really on the line and oppositions start to get a grip on the games offensively. Daley blind has hardly featured for the team at all this season and Mourinho was ready to offload him in January.

Matteo Darmian is better suited to the right backs and has been banished to the benches along with Luke Shaw who has not appeared on the left-back role after being handed a promising start to the year.

It looks like Mourinho will continue with Ashley Young as a makeshift option on the left and Antonio Valencia on the right. He is also scouring the market for defensive additions that he can make in the summer window even though Victor Lindelöf is available for selection.

The team has improved in recent times and it looks like their defensive issues have been addressed by Mourinho, evident from the 2-1 win over Liverpool last night.

While Eric Baily’s return has sparked the upside trend in the seasonal curve, Sokratis will be the right man to take the spot next to the Ivory Coast international. The following season can turn out to be an improvement with a bolstered squad.

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