Even a casual observer could tell you that, while Manchester United haven’t been scoring as many as other top sides this season, it’s their defence which looks like the weakest link most often.
Antonio Valencia is a great athlete but lacks finesse and seldom finds the killer pass when in advanced and dangerous positions. On the left, Luke Shaw remains a precocious but inconsistent and raw talent. And in the centre Eric Bailly was one of Manchester United’s best performers this term – until he got crocked with an injury which will keep him out until Christmas.
Beyond that Manchester United have the athletic physique but dubious ball skills of Chris Smalling, the error prone Daley Blind and the talented but too often injured Phil Jones.
It’s difficult to imagine Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho not adding a new partner for Bailly in the next two windows. TFF still thinks that Phil Jones could be a top player but he can’t be trusted to remain injury free for a whole season.
It’s never easy to sign top players in January. But if Mourinho is prepared to try to tame another seemingly volcanic personality then he could do a lot worse than to cast his eye over Mamadou Sakho at Liverpool.
His national team boss, Didier Deschamps said of the player this week:
“There has to be another solution for him to find another club in the January window.”
Sakho has had so many problems at Liverpool. He got that drug ban last season which was eventually overturned but not before he had lost his place in the side.
And he was sent home from a training camp in the summer after pranks that ostensibly went too far.
But while the temperament of the Frenchman is questionable, his quality is not. And he looks like the sort of player who Jose would fancy.
He’s 6ft 2in and a real powerhouse. But he’s also really quick like Bailly and has decent feet. If anything he may be too similar to Bailly and Jose may want a real ball player alongside the Senegal international. But history suggests that isn’t Jose’s priority and that he likes defenders to defend and let others carry the passing burden.
At 26 Sakho has played for France 26 times. He would have friends in the Manchester United squad in the shape of his countrymen Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.
So if Jose is prepared to expend energy on a difficult deal between clubs that traditionally don’t do business, then perhaps the perfect defensive solution is just a few dozen miles down the M62 motorway. After all, fortune is said to favour the brave…