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Three potential centre-back targets for Manchester United

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Three potential centre-back targets for Manchester United

Manchester United are on the search for a centre back following a disappointing season in the defensive department.

The Red Devils’ search for a new centre back will likely continue until the summer following their failed attempts to sign one last summer, and everyone’s reluctance to give away key players at this time of year.

United have conceded 32 goals in their 22 games this season, almost double of what the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have – more than triple Liverpool’s concessions. The Red Devils have kept just four clean sheets this season, putting them 16th in the clean sheet table, further outlining their desperate need for a new star centre back.

But who are the leading candidates? Who can Manchester United turn to in order to solve their defensive woes?

Here are the leading contenders.

Kalidou Koulibaly

The Napoli defender is at the top of this list because he’s quickly becoming one of the best in the world at his job.

The Senegal international is said to be worth over £60 million, with his current long-term contract not up until as late as 2023.

He’s averaged a 7.1 WhoScored rating across his 18 Serie A appearances this season, with Napoli second in the league, behind only Juventus.

Koulibaly arrived in Naples from Genk in 2014 and he’s gone on to become quite the player. He’s 27, so he’s not exactly up-and-coming, but he’s a player entering his peak, and that’s what Manchester United could benefit from should they snap him up.

He’s a strong tackler, strong in the air and he drives into midfield from the back, setting attacks on their way with his commanding presence.

Koulibaly, however, will not come cheap.

Koulibaly Napoli

Toby Alderweireld

Someone who may come a little cheaper, is Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld. It’s estimated that he’s worth over £30 million, but Manchester United are one of a number of clubs hoping to exploit his current contract situation.

The Belgian international’s contract in North London is set to expire in just over a year, with his current deal up in the summer of 2020.

He’s not going to leave the club for free, but inevitably, if he does leave, it will be at a lower price due to his contract situation.

Alderweireld is a player Manchester United have been tracking for some time, and there’s a degree of inevitability about his arrival at Old Trafford. Tottenham will be desperately fighting to prevent that. The Belgian is a cool, composed and consistent centre back.

He’s very different to Koulibaly, but it all depends on what Manchester United want, what sort of centre back the new boss, whoever he may be, wants to recruit.

For the purpose of stats, Alderweireld has made 20 league appearances this season, accruing a WhoScored rating of 6.95 on average.

Toby Alderweireld

Harry Maguire

Manchester United were reportedly in for the England international in the summer. The player himself told of how he was ‘convinced’ he was joining Manchester United, only for the deal to fall through, much to the disappointment of United fans.

Consistent, top-class English centre-backs simply don’t come around too often, but Harry Maguire seems to be one, and that’s why United will have to pay a king’s ransom to get him across to Old Trafford.

Leicester City purchased his services for £12 million, rising to £17 million from Hull City in 2017, and they are set to make a huge profit on the 25-year-old.

Since his arrival at the King Power Stadium, he has established himself as a consistent Premier League defender, and, of course, enjoyed a stellar World Cup with England.

There’s talk that United would have to pay £60 million for Harry Maguire, but he may be worth it, given he is a countryman, and a dual threat in that he’s dangerous in front of goal, and a safe pair of feet in the back four.

Maguire could particularly be an option if the rumours are to be believed and Gareth Southgate is being considered as the next manager of Manchester United.

Harry Maguire Leicester