Manchester United’s search for a right back this summer is in full swing. With just one natural first team right back in the squad, Rafael, it is easy to see why Louis van Gaal deems it necessary to send scouts across Europe in an attempt to bolster the defence in preparation for next season.
The Red Devils played the majority of last season with Antonio Valencia occupying the right back spot. Although the Ecuadorian held his place ahead of Rafael fairly convincingly, he didn’t always look like the most natural full back. While his attacking displays raised eyebrows, defensively he lacked the consistency to be able to stamp his ground on the position permanently.
United had been tipped to be the next destination of Barcelona right back, Dani Alves. The 32-year-old teased various clubs around Europe with his contract uncertainty. Having only 1 month left to run on his contract, it looked as if United were front runners for his signature, only for the Brazilian to perform a U-turn and commit his long-term future to the Camp Nou.
So where does that leave Manchester United? There are many options ahead of Louis van Gaal this summer, below, we’ll take a look at 5 potential signings United could make in order to fill the right back void.
Van der Wiel
Gregory Van der Wiel is probably not the first name you’d like to see on this list as a United fan, but it has to be said that the Dutchman is a highly likely option for Louis van Gaal, it wouldn’t be such a bad signing either. At just 27, Van der Wiel has his best years still to come. A vital part of PSG’s team, Van der Wiel has just one year left on his contract, meaning he would only cost around £7 million, a fee that is indisputably an absolute bargain. Van der Wiel is best known for his passing and tackling abilities, in fact, he held the best records for both in the latter stages of last seasons Champions League. The full back is a player who burst onto the scenes for both club and country very early on in his career, and although he was not selected by Van Gaal for the 2014 World Cup (knee injuries reportedly kept him out) – he still has a lot to offer.
Dani Carvajal is a player who probably has the best reputation as a right back out of all of the players on this list. Still only 23, Carvajal is also the youngest of the 5 right backs mentioned. As Real Madrid’s first choice right back, Carvajal has a lot of first team experience under his belt. He has also started to rack up appearances for his national side, Spain. Carvajal is on this list due to Real Madrid’s signing of Danilo from Porto on a six-year contract, a player who is also a right back and will probably push the Spaniard off the Real first team picture. Whether or not Carvajal would be keen to fall down the pecking order for Madrid remains to be seen, but interest from Manchester United might just be too hard to resist for the defender, who would join a growing list of Spanish players at United. As well as Danilo’s arrival, De Gea’s possible departure from United to Madrid could help sweeten a deal for United to sign one of Los Blanco’s stars. Dani Carvajal’s signing would be a massive step in the right direction. Still so young, he is a potentially world-class player in the making and has already proven himself at the highest level.
Now an England international, Nathaniel Clyne has had a brilliant season in every sense. In the eyes of many, Clyne was a dead-cert for a spot in the Premier League’s team of the season, and although he missed out, it is unlikely that the 24-year-old will not be challenging again anytime soon. Liverpool have already failed in an attempt to lure Clyne away from Southampton, seeing a £10 million bid rejected. This shows the Saint’s are unwilling to allow the player to leave on the cheap, despite it being made clear that the player wants out. Should Clyne be brought in by LvG, it would certainly seem like a favourable option to many. A young Englishman with high quality and potential joining the ranks would definitely not go amiss.
Darmian is a player who is heavily linked with a move away from Torino. Formally of AC Milan, the right back has a similar positional history to Valencia’s. The Italian started out as a right midfielder and has since been dragged back into a defensive position. Valued at around £15m, Darmian has attracted a lot of attention from around Europe as the 25-year-old managed 5 goals in 46 appearances last season. Now a regular Italian international, Darmian could well be on his way to Old Trafford.
Although the Everton right back doesn’t glisten as one of the best signings United could make, the Irishman has undoubtedly been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League for many years. At 26, Coleman is hitting his best years in football, and with him already proving himself in the Premier League, it is hard to see him slowing down even if he did make the move to United. Coleman is a solid full back who loves an invite to get forward and attack. He is also defensively sound, and a very reliable player in any sense. Everton’s unwillingness to sell the player may pose a potential stumbling block for the move, however only time will tell whether or not the Merseyside club will be tempted to part ways with the player if a serious bid at the right amount comes in.
All in all, United have many options. It is still not out of the question for Rafael to impress over pre-season, and earn himself one last chance under Van Gaal. Equally, it is not certain that Phil Jones or Paddy McNair aren’t capable of stepping up on the right side of the defence – both players have played there before and both have impressed.