Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Why Yanga-Mbiwa Would Be a Great Signing

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 18, 2012

Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Why Yanga-Mbiwa Would Be a Great Signing

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    Manchester United need to look at signing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Montpellier.

    The Red Devils are short of fit and healthy players in central defence and with Rio Ferdinand declining, it's time to look for a suitable replacement.

    With financial restrictions taken into account, there is no better pound-for-pound value buy available this January than this man, so here's why the Red Devils simply must add him to their ranks.

Yanga-Mbiwa's MHSC Situation

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    Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was a standout performer in an immense Montpellier side last season.

    La Paillade won the Ligue 1 title at the expense of nouveau riche Paris Saint-Germain, with a late result against the capital club followed by a strong winning run securing the silverware.

    This season, however, is a different story. MHSC currently sit 15th in the table after eight games, the chairman Louis Nicollin thinks most of his players are a**holes (via and many of last season's top performers are being linked with a move away.

    This Frenchman is no exception, and was supposedly close to joining AC Milan this summer as a replacement for Thiago Silva (via ESPN), but the clubs couldn't agree on a fee.

    Right now, he is partnering 35-year-old Hilton in central defence and things are going stale.

Sir Alex Ferguson's Central Defensive Situation

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    Rio Ferdinand, 33

    Ex-England international Ferdinand is in the twilight of his career. He's been found wanting several times over the past few seasons and Gareth Bale exposing his utter lack of pace at Old Trafford this season was the final straw for many fans.

    He's going to continue declining and while he is most certainly a serviceable backup, a long-term plan must be made at his expense.



    Nemanja Vidic, 30


    On his day, Serbian monster Vidic is the best central defender in the English Premier League. The problem is, "that day" hasn't come around for nearly one whole year.

    At 30, with injuries creeping up, there are no guarantees on his future. He is still absolutely indispensable because if he returns to fitness he'll be a beast, but again Sir Alex Ferguson must plan ahead.



    Chris Smalling, 22


    Smalling should be pretty close to returning to full fitness now after his metatarsal injury. He's a very efficient player who divides opinion, but it's likely you'll see the former Fulham defender donning a Manchester United shirt for the next five to six years.



    Phil Jones, 20


    Jones will be fine when he stops being messed around with regard to his position—he's not a right-back, so don't play him there.

    He seems most at home in a box-to-box midfield role like he played at Blackburn Rovers, but right now he's always one injury away from filling in at central defence.

Yanga-Mbiwa's Strengths

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    Last season, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa averaged 2.3 tackles and 2.7 interceptions per game from 34 Ligue 1 appearances.

    Those statistics make him look like a pretty good defender—not great—but don't let stat lines form the basis for your opinions.

    Montpellier were on a dominant run last season and attacked fervently. Younes Belhanda and Olivier Giroud wreaked havoc upon opposing defences, so Yanga-Mbiwa and co. were never subjected to immense pressure.

    He was picked in French Football Weekly's 2012 Ligue 1 Team of the Year alongside Marseille stud Nicolas Nkoulou, while Didier Deschamps was suitably impressed to award him his first two international caps recently (via

The Need to Purchase

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    If any club wants to buy Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, it needs to be done this January.

    Yes, he will be cup-tied having played for Montpellier in the UEFA Champions League already this season, but transfers aren't all about short-term gain.

    The AC Milan bid rejected for the defender by MHSC was approximately €6 million (via Metro,) and the Frenchman's contract expires in the summer of 2013. (via

    That means it's bosman free transfer time come winter and Yanga-Mbiwa will be allowed to speak to clubs outside of France with a view to moving in the summer.

    Louis Nicollin, La Paillade's president, was foolish to reject the advances of clubs this summer as there's no chance the defender will extend his stay on the south coast of France.

    United need to make sure they grab him on a bosman deal for the summer, or part with a small fee in January to secure him for the second half of the season.

    Statistics via WhoScored?