Monday, December 5, 2022

Manchester United Set To Pull Off Audacious Move For Defensive Ace: Can Mourinho Make It Happen?

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

Manchester United are desperate for a centre-back and Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti is at the very top of their shortlist. Recent reports claim that the Red Devils are prepared to offer Luke Shaw in exchange for the Frenchman’s services.

Clearly, this is the same play that Jose Mourinho executed in the January transfer window when he swapped out Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The latter was a misfit in the Portuguese’s system and was done away with quite easily.

Shaw is in the similar boat as Mkhitaryan was at Old Trafford. The 22-year-old hardly features under the United boss and was at the stiff end of heavy criticism last week.

Mourinho called Shaw a defensive liability when he was asked about the player’s halftime substitution against Brighton And Hove Albion. The manager revealed that all of his players other than Nemanja Matic looked unimpressive on the pitch.

The 22-year-old has been scapegoated on plenty of occasions this season despite maintaining his fitness. The manager has opted to field Ashley Young ahead of Shaw who is naturally a left-back and the former is not.

The start of the year seemed promising when Mourinho handed Shaw 5 starts in the first 8 games. But pretty soon things returned to normal proceedings when the transfer window got closed off for business and Shaw could find himself a different club.


The time is now for Shaw to quit Old Trafford and start playing for a different team, even if it is outside of England. Once an England international, the former Southampton man can no longer gamble his future on the whims and fancies of Mourinho.

However, is Barcelona the right move in his career? The Catalan giants already have Jordi Alba and Lucas Digne in the position and several candidates in their highly esteemed youth academy – La Masia.

Shaw would be a surplus to Ernesto Valverde’s requirement and returning to the same climate in a different climate would be a nightmare for the player. The move would only be feasible if either of the two makes a club exit next summer.

With his contract set to run for another 2 seasons, excluding the current one, it is highly unlikely that Alba will quit the Camp Nou. However, Digne’s future cannot be made sure off. He was once a regular starter for AS Roma and might just be getting frustrated as the sporadic option.

Mourinho’s craftiness is proving to be beneficial in theory but results are yet to be delivered. Sanchez has scored just once since his arrival in January and is struggling to replicate his performances in an Arsenal shirt. Let’s hope the same fate does not envelope Samuel Umtiti’s career at Old Trafford if the move does end up taking place.

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