Manchester United are eyeing a move for James Tarkowski - Is he the best option?
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JULY 05: James Tarkowski of Burnley looks on during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Sheffield United at Turf Moor on July 05, 2020 in Burnley, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images)

According to The Athletic, as cited by Mirror, Manchester United are eyeing a move for James Tarkowski. The Burnley defender has emerged as the latest player to be shortlisted by the Premier League giants as they look to bolster their defensive department. Although the summer transfer window is over, the Red Devils could plot a move for Tarkowski in the future, especially with his contract running out in 2022.

James Tarkowski: A Quality Premier League Defender?

Tarkowski has established himself as one of Premier League’s ever-present defenders over the past three or four years. His formidable defensive partnership alongside Ben Mee has been one of the key reasons behind Burnley’s incredible survival story under the leadership of Sean Dyche.

Tarkowski has notched up almost 150 competitive appearances for the Clarets, helping them remain in the top-flight despite the club boasting a relatively weaker squad when compared to their rivals. His impressive performances have even earned him two caps for the English national side, though he is yet to feature for the Three Lions since 2018.

Nevertheless, Tarkowski is indeed one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League at the moment, having showcased remarkable discipline, commitment and work-ethic under Dyche.

What Can He Bring To The Table?

One of Tarkowski’s biggest assets is his aggression. He is a fierce tackler of the game – someone who isn’t afraid to commit himself into challenges, with the defender notably averaging 2.3 attempted tackles per game last season with a success rate of 73%.

Manchester United are eyeing a move for James Tarkowski - A leader among men.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 03: James Tarkowski of Burnley reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St. James Park on October 03, 2020, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images)

Additionally, the 27-year-old, standing at 185cm, is quite competent in the air, having won 5.2 headed duels per game. His tally of 1.7 interceptions, meanwhile, is indicative of the defender’s ability to read the game.

Tarkowski certainly needs to work on his passing, however, as he is not a gifted passer of the ball and might struggle against a high pressing opposition.

Is Tarkowski A Good Fit For Man United?

Manchester United‘s awful start to the campaign have highlighted their need for defensive reinforcements. Their captain Harry Maguire has appeared sloppy while Victor Lindelof’s incompetence has also been well documented.

Tarkowski, in that regard, should provide some much-needed aggression to the table for the Red Devils. He has an imposing figure, which is combined with a remarkable fighting spirit and mentality that should make it difficult for opposing attackers to get past him.

However, if Manchester United are to make a move for Tarkowski next summer, someone like Dayot Upamecano could perhaps be a better option.

The RB Leipzig star is also nearing the end of his contract and should be available for a cut-price next summer. The Frenchman, unlike Tarkowski, can provide that technical quality in the defensive half, combined with his usual physique and determination, thus making him a more viable option for the Red Devils.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.