Manchester United’s frailties in defence have been uncovered this season with some rather uncertain performances so far. Rumours are that David Moyes will make major moves in the January transfer window and one will be for a reinforcement in the backline. After some breakthrough performances for Porto last season Eliaquim Mangala attracted interest from the top teams in England this summer. The Red Devils now seem to be the front runners for his signature, but it is believed that they will have to fork out over £25 million for the young French international.
In recent years there have been minimal problems with United’s defence, with the ever dependable Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand being key to success. Patrice Evra and Rafael have also given consistently solid performances with Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones offering able cover. However this season has seen the defence opened up somewhat with a few shaky performances, with the recent one against West Brom being a prime example. In that game Morgan Amalfitano was able to waltz through the defence before applying a deft chip over David De Gea. Smalling despite being in his fourth season at United has failed to establish himself as a regular, and doesn’t seem to be the natural successor to Rio Ferdinand. Jones has featured a bit more often but in a wide variety of positions, and therefore it seems Moyes would like to add another centre back to his squad.
Who is Eliaquim Mangala?
Mangala made his professional debut for Standard Liege when aged just 17 and shortly after became a key part of a side that went on to have some success in Belgium and Europe. The Frenchman can also play at left back, another area which Manchester United are looking to strengthen. Mangala joined FC Porto in the summer of 2011 for a fee of €6.5 million. In his first season however he found himself backup to the likes of Rolando, Nicolas Otamendi and Maicon. His breakthrough came in the following season with some commanding displays as Porto went on to win the Portuguese title again snatching it from Benfica at the death. He has made a few appearances for France but currently has a lot of competition is his position with Rami, Koscielny, and Sakho to name a few. He is a commanding defender and would give United’s defence a bit of youth and presence.
£25 million is the price that is being quoted or thereabouts, which sounds a lot for any defender especially one at the age of 22, and unproven in one of the bigger European leagues. However I do feel he would be a good addition to United, and these are the prices you have to pay theses days. Prices are inflated and things probably weren’t helped when Liverpool signed Andy Carroll for £35 million. In comparison to that this would seem a fantastic deal. FC Porto obviously don’t want to lose Mangala and therefore are well within their right to ask for a high figure. United will have to pay those sort of amounts to add the world class quality that they want.