Manchester United have been quiet on the transfer front this summer. After confirming the arrival of Memphis Depay at the end of last season, the club has been linked with a host of players but none have signed yet. With David de Gea’s potential exit to Real Madrid having dominated the headlines all summer, and a move reportedly close to concluding, the Old Trafford faithful are gearing up for a raft of new signings as Van Gaal aims to challenge for the title next season.
United have not made any secret of their desire to sign a world class defender this summer after the defensive turmoil of last season, which left Van Gaal constantly chopping and changing at the back. In truth, United have not had a world class centre back since Nemanja Vidic departed and Rio Ferdinand suffered decline.
That may be about to change soon as according to Spanish outlet AS, United are edging closer to the signing of Valencia centre-back Nicolas Otamendi. The 27-year-old Argentine International , who is a regular starter for the Albiceleste, has been linked with a switch to the Old Trafford outfit for the past few months after enjoying a fantastic season at the Mestalla and being instrumental in the club achieving the feat of qualifying for the Champions League.
However, United’s interest in the defender was thought to have dimmed in the wake of the news of Sergio Ramos’ availability. It was widely tipped that Van Gaal had chosen to go for Ramos rather than Otamendi . But news now emerging in the AS has served a treat for United fans by claiming that Van Gaal is targeting the signature of both the defenders and wishes to pair them at the heart of the club’s defense.
If the wily Dutchman succeeds in doing so, the United supporters can arguably boast one of the strongest defensive partnerships in Europe , let alone the Premier League. At £36 million the player will not come cheap , but if he can replicate his Valencia form at the Theater of Dreams, it will be money well spent. Although Real Madrid are also interested in the defender, United are widely tipped to be favourites for his signature and a deal is expected to be finalized in the coming days.
Quick, strong, comfortable on the ball and good in the air are just some of the traits that Otamendi will bring to a United back line that seemed overrun several times last season. A pairing of Sergio Ramos and Otamendi at the center of defence is reminiscent of the wonderful partnership that Rio Ferdinand and Vidic formed under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson.
If Otamendi can have even half the impact on the club that those two had in their time here, this has the potential to turn into the most important deal of the summer.