Man Utd’s interest in back-end signings takes on real meaning after Wolves win
Manchester United added another to their last-minute Premier League winning tally this week, beating Wolves with a strike from Marcus Rashford in the 93rd minute.
It was a frustrating night for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as the visitors settled behind the ball and closed spaces looking to counter. It was reminiscent of previous clashes between the two, with only one goal scored in the previous three games.
Manchester United’s attacking players were negated by the deep defensive line, with the lack of space to collide canceling the pace of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. He put more emphasis on full-backs to create, but United struggled.
Alex Telles delivered a handful of crosses for Edinson Cavani and his teammates in the first half, or… well, at least he “delivered” a handful of “crosses” near Cavani and co. He was substituted at half-time, replaced by Luke Shaw who came in and bonded well with the attacking players, but also struggled to create anything noticeable.
Across the pitch, Aaron Wan-Bissaka often found himself with the freedom of the right wing, but once again failed to produce the goods in the future.
This is not the first time that Wan-Bissaka’s attacking contribution has been called into question since joining the club for £ 50million 18 months ago. He has lived up to his defensive reputation and is part of the reason the club’s defensive record improved so much last season. But in the future, there is a gaping hole in his game.
He just doesn’t look right to run over an opponent. He often seems to be falling on himself and has become a common joke on social media for the aesthetic he provides when attempting to beat an opponent in an individual situation.
With his obvious flaws in attack, teams often let him have the ball in forward areas and instead focus on not being able to send the ball to one of the more talented players on the side.
United are now looking to resolve that issue, with apparent interest in Norwich full-back Max Aarons for the January transfer window.
The England Under-21 international was a key figure in the Norwich side who were relegated from the Premier League last season but have been impressive going forward and have been good this season as well.
With Diogo Dalot already on loan at AC Milan, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has so far had Brandon Williams as the campaign’s right-back. Despite this, Solskjaer has opted to use Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe at right-back instead in the last few matches with Williams not being 100% fit.
With Williams now likely to leave the club on loan in January, with Southampton and Newcastle among the clubs reportedly interested, United must not only cover but also compete for the post.
Telles’ arrival this summer has seen a huge upturn in the form of Shaw at left-back, knowing his position is up for grabs if he suffers a drop in performance like he did previously. The hope is that a right-back signing could do the same for Wan-Bissaka.
Aarons is a very attacking full-back who is proficient in defense, while Wan-Bissaka is quite the opposite. While the former Crystal Palace man would remain the first choice ahead of Aarons, the added threat in some games should force him to level up to maintain that certainty.
For some reason, Solskjaer is obviously not a fan of Dalot, who could have played the attacking role quite comfortably. But with their future quite clearly distant from Old Trafford, United appear to be making the decision to continue once again with a young talent capable of advancing and developing.
Manchester United’s needs are clear. They need more creativity in the camp and they need to find consistency in performance. A start for this is to improve on their weaker positions and all of the best teams in world football have fantastic full-backs.
It is time for Manchester United to step into this realm as well and strengthen at the back to add an extra dimension to their squad.