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Manchester United Among Several Clubs Looking To Sign This Ligue 1 Defender: Right Choice For Ole?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by Le Quotidien du Foot (translated by The Daily Mail), Manchester United have identified Paris Saint-Germain right-back Thomas Meunier as a potential summer target but will face competition from Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan in pursuit of his signature. The same source has also revealed that the Red Devils could potentially land the Belgian international on a free transfer when his contract at Parc Des Princes runs out at the end of this current campaign.

Meunier’s Underwhelming Campaign In The French Top-Flight

Meunier has experienced another solid season at the French capital but has struggled to be productive going forward. He has scored just one goal and provided two assists in 27 matches for the Parisian giants this term in all competitions. His lack of end-product in the final third could be one of the main reasons why PSG are willing to let him leave as a free agent in the off-season.

More importantly, the Belgian international has averaged 1.7 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 0.9 clearances in every 90 minutes of league football this season (stats via whoscored). However, those numbers have gone up in the UEFA Champions League where he has averaged 2.0 tackles, 2.2 interceptions and 1.8 clearances per game in the five European matches he has been involved in so far (stats via whoscored).

The 28-year-old has secured 40 senior caps for the Belgian national side and has netted seven goals for his country in the process. He will be expected to play a vital role for Roberto Martinez’s side in the UEFA European Championship which has been delayed until the summer of 2021 due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas Meunier of Paris Saint-Germain in action during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between SSC Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain at Stadio San Paolo on November 6, 2018, in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

What Will The Belgian Full-Back Add To Solskjaer’s Team?

Meunier can use his pace and work ethic to put in a tireless shift down the right flank. Despite struggling to contribute for PSG in the opposition half, there is no denying that he is still one of the best defensive full-backs in the Ligue 1 as he is very good at dealing with the danger when left exposed at the back. The Belgian talent has made some crucial interceptions and last-gasp clearances for his side this season which makes him a worthy target for Man United to consider in the summer.

Is Meunier The Right Choice For The Red Devils?

A right-back of Meunier’s defensive quality will undeniably be a decent choice for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s brand of football at Old Trafford. However, the Man United boss has currently got Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot as his right-back options. Hence, he has no immediate need to sign a new player for that position during the summer transfer window. At the same time, introducing Meunier to his first-team squad could increase competition for Wan-Bissaka, who is also known for his defensive prowess and not his attacking returns.

Having two solid right-backs could help the Red Devils cope with fixture congestion better with their remaining league matches expected to be sandwiched up within a short period if the Premier League decides to conclude their current season after the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

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