Manchester United Transfers: 5 Left-Back Options for Next Season
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With Fabio da Silva supposedly off to Benfica next season, Ezekiel Fryers' future up in the air and Patrice Evra declining, Manchester United look set to sign a left-back in this summer's transfer window.
It has been something of a problem position for the Premier League leaders this season, with 30-year-old Evra the only experienced and healthy option on the left side of defence.
And it's clear the lack of competition for his place in the team has affected his performances significantly, with misguided tackles, a lack of tracking back and some poor crosses going forward symptomatic of the Frenchman's campaign.
Fabio and Ezekiel "Zeki" Fryers are both too inexperienced at the moment to provide real competition, so it's highly likely Sir Alex Ferguson will sign a left-sided defender to make that slot in the team a competitive one ahead of the new term.
Here are five left-backs who fit in with Manchester United's style and can cope in the Premier League and could become regulars at Old Trafford next season.
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Christian Fuchs to Manchester United has been on the cards all season, and has previously been a suggested transfer on Bleacher Report.
The 26-year-old Schalke 04 left-back is probably the perfect player to provide competition for Evra next season.
After all, the statistics would show he has been the better defender this season, as he wins more tackles (3) and interceptions (2.9) per game than Evra (2.5 tackles and 1.3 interceptions).
And going forward he's the better "modern full-back," whacking in more accurate crosses per game (1.6) than Evra (0.4) and creating more direct goalscoring opportunities for teammates from the wing (1.9 key passes per match compared to Evra's 1 key pass per match).
Fuchs also hits more accurate long balls per game (3.4 compared to Evra's 1.4) and also has more assists (seven compared to Evra's four).
So overall, Fuchs is a very attractive option for United, and it would be no surprise if Sir Alex makes a move for the Austria international this summer.
Possible Transfer Fee: £8 million
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Jordi Alba will end up at one of two clubs next summer—FC Barcelona or Manchester United.
The three-capped Spain international would be a very good option for United, and can read the game defensively better than any United player, making 3.4 interceptions per game (United's best being Michael Carrick with 2.7).
And what also makes him ideal is how experienced he is at such a young age, having already made 140 professional appearances in his career.
Despite the clear potential Alba still hasn't tapped into, that experience the Spaniard has shows on the pitch, meaning the defender is a player can develop even further with more regular game time and not be a liability—unlike both Fabio and Fryers at times this season.
Experienced, young and good in both defence and attack, Alba would not only provide a strong option at left-back for United, but also excellent resale value.
Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising at all if the Red Devils make a concerted push to sign him this summer.
Possible Transfer Fee: £12 million
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He's the best left-back in La Liga right now, barring compatriot and Real Madrid star Marcelo. And whilst he hasn't been linked with Manchester United, he would make a great signing for the Red Devils.
Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis, 26, is the definition of the perfect left-sided defender.
The Brazilian wins on average four tackles and 4.4 interceptions every game (better than any United player), and rarely ever gets beaten for pace by an opposition winger.
He's also a dab hand in attack too, on average creating at least one direct goal-scoring chance for a teammate every game with his useful crossing ability.
It's no wonder that Luis has not been substituted once this season, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in 31 of Atletico's 33 league matches this term—he missed the other two games through suspension and injury.
Luis is certainly one player that Diego Simeone won't want to let go, but if a giant like Manchester United comes calling, then a transfer could be hard to resist, for both parties.
Possible Transfer Fee: £7 million
Twenty-year-old Ajax left-back Nicolai Boilesen is one of two top young defenders to emerge from the Eredivisie.
The Denmark international, like Fabio, has struggled throughout the season with injury, but had he been fit would've made a lot more than just the four league appearances he has under his belt this term.
But that could work into United's favour, enabling them to snap up the burgeoning Dane for a knock-down fee despite the clear potential the player has.
Boilesen is better than both Fabio and Fryers in his tackling and intercepting, and going forward has great control and can dribble the ball up the wing better than any young full-back in the game.
Whilst he has been very injury prone this season, Boilesen is clearly a talent who can develop into one of the sport's best full-backs, and under the eye of the United medical team could make a brilliant long-term signing.
Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson were no doubt disappointed not to see Boilesen in action when Ajax played the Red Devils in the Europa League, but nonetheless could well make a move for the Dane this summer, having been interested in him for two years now.
Possible Transfer Fee: £5 million
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Eighteen-year-old PSV Eindhoven left-back Jetro Willems is the other top young defender to emerge from the Eredivisie this season.
Willems is two years younger than Boilesen yet has already racked up 20 more professional appearances in football. He has been a mainstay in the PSV first-team this season, providing strong competition to regular choice Erik Pieters.
Linked with Manchester United, Willems is a powerful athlete on the wing, and has great ability and pace to drive the ball forward quickly and track back efficiently.
A player who's improving in defence and attack almost by the game, Willems could be the perfect long-term replacement for Patrice Evra.
Possible Transfer Fee: £4 million
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored?.com