Friday, August 12, 2022

Manchester United Target Braga Defender As Timber Alternative: Smart Option For Ten Hag?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

Recent reports from Manchester Evening News state that Manchester United are keen on signing Braga centre-back David Carmo in the summer transfer window as Erik Ten Hag looks set to add to his options at the back.

The report further states that Manchester United have already held two rounds of talks with Braga for the Portuguese defender; however, the board will begin serious negotiations only if a planned move for Ajax right-back Jurrien Timber fails to materialise.

Carmo’s current contract at the Primeira Liga club runs until 2025, but the Red Devils might secure his services for a fee much lower than the reported £35 million release clause should they choose to pursue him.

Having come through the ranks at SC Braga itself, David Carmo made his senior debut on 17 January 2020 against Porto, conceding a penalty in an eventual 2–1 victory for his side. Despite a poor first impression, the Aveiro-born defender has made 56 appearances for Os Arcebispos over the course of the last two years, establishing himself as one of the most highly-rated talents in Portugal.

Braga's David Carmo
Sporting Braga’s Portuguese defender David Carmo (2nd L) celebrates after scoring their first goal during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-final, second leg football match between Rangers and Sporting Braga at the Ibrox Stadium, in Glasgow, on April 14, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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After being out for the first six months of the 2021/22 season with an unfortunate ankle injury, the 22-year-old managed to feature in just fourteen games last term. Nonetheless, he put some awe-inspiring performances in the matches he played in – averaging 0.6 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, three clearances, 0.7 blocks, and 6.3 long balls per ninety minutes in the Portuguese top flight.

Furthermore, with Europa League experience under his belt, the left-footed centre half seems like the ideal cut-price alternative to Pau Torres, Alessandro Bastoni, or Lisandro Martinez.

Carmo was almost set to join Liverpool in a €4 million loan deal midway through last season, but the deal collapsed at the last moment when manager Carlos Carvalhal asked him to stay as a suitable replacement was not found.

Smart Option For The Red Devils?

The lack of quality in either centre-back position has caused immense damage to Manchester United’s ambitions for the season, with Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, and Victor Lindelof dropping average performances even on their best day. If a deal for Jurrien Timbers fails to go through, signing Carmo should be the board’s topmost priority, especially given that some cut-price deals will help the rebuild by allowing them to spend a lot more on the premium players.

At 22, the Portuguese ace has some of the best years ahead of him, so it won’t be a surprise if he adds an entirely new dimension to United’s dynamic at the back next season.

(Stats from WhoScored)

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