Where Manchester United Could Turn for Help at Left Back This Summer

Joseph Dempsey@Joseph@whatculture!CorrespondentJuly 27, 2013

Where Manchester United Could Turn for Help at Left Back This Summer

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    For Manchester United, this summer's transfer window has been an underwhelming one.

    While "noisy neighbours" Manchester City have spent upwards of £90 million on new signings, for the English champions, the only new recruit coming through the door has been Uruguayan fullback Guillermo Varela.

    Hardly a "marquee signing" nor indeed a noteworthy one.

    In fairness to new manager David Moyes, it is not as though he hasn't been putting in the effort.

    Bids have been made for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, two in fact, both of which have been rejected by the La Liga giants.

    Then of course there was the £12 million offer last month for Everton left-back Leighton Baines, which was also met with short shrift.

    It is at left-back where United are badly in need of reinforcements. 

    Patrice Evra rang in his 32nd birthday in May, while understudies Alexander Buttner and Fabio, who has just returned from a troublesome loan spell with QPR, have much to prove before they can be considered as adequate, long-term replacements.

    The Red Devils need a new, experienced left-back, especially as Evra continues to be linked with a return to Monaco, and here, B/R takes a look at Where Manchester United Could Turn for Help at Left Back This Summer.


Yuto Nagatomo

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    One option for Moyes at left-back is Inter Milan's Yuto Nagatomo.

    United's interest in the player dates back to February, with now-retired Sir Alex Ferguson keen on bringing the Japan international to Old Trafford, according to the Express.

    And Moyes could also share his predecessor's interest should he be in the market for a new wingback this summer. 

    Nagatomo has just enjoyed an impressive Confederations Cup tournament in which he played a big part in Japan's valiant quest to reach the semi-finals, and was particularly impressive in the thrilling 4-3 defeat to Italy in the Group Stages.

    The 26-year-old is endowed with versatility in that he can also play on either flank, which could prove useful given that United's wingers last season - Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young - were ineffectual.

    The former FC Tokyo man has finally established himself at Inter having spent the past three seasons at the San Siro, working his way into a regular starting berth in Walter Mazzarri's starting XI.

    And United could have to part with a sizable chunk of change given his importance to I Nerazzurri.  

Emilio Izaguirre

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    Another option in the left-back position is Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre.

    The Honduras international is a long-term target for United, with the player claiming the Premier League champions attempted to sign him back in 2011, according to the Metro.

    The 27-year-old alleged Sir Alex Ferguson made contact with Celtic's directors over the player's availability, though clearly very little came of it.

    United's interest in 2011 came off the back of a tremendous season for Izaguirre, who was voted SPFA Players’ Player of the Year, Clydesdale Bank SPL Player of the Year, Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year and Celtic Players’ Player of the Year after helping the side to the SPL title, which he has now won twice.

    The Red Devils appear to have cooled their interest however, after the defender penned a new deal at Celtic back in 2011, tying him to The Bhoys until at least 2015.

    However, with just two years remaining of his current deal, Celtic could be tempted to cash in should they receive an appropriate offer.

Fabio Coentrao

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    Fabio Coentrao could be seeking a new club this summer following a difficult season at Real Madrid

    The Portuguese fullback has fallen down the pecking order at the Bernabeu with Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa at times preferred over the 25-year-old, who was limited to just 16 La Liga appearances in 2012/13.

    Like Nagatomo, Coentrao is also a versatile player who can operate as a left-winger and can even play in a central midfield role, which would seem to suit United given they also need a new midfielder, and his capture would also kill two birds with the one proverbial stone taking the Evra and Paul Scholes situations into account.

    Recently however, the Portugal international has been linked with a move to Tottenham as part of any package Real put together for Gareth Bale, according to the Metro, while Chelsea and Benfica have also shown a previous interest in the defender, say the Daily Star.




Neil Taylor

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    In August last year, Manchester United's interest in Everton left-back Baines first became known, though the club baulked at the Toffees' £20 million valuation of the England international, leaving Ferguson considering other alternatives.

    One of which, says the Mirror, was Swansea City's Neil Taylor. 

    Ferguson had the foresight 12 months ago to know that he would need to bring in a backup left-back for Evra, and though Baines was his No.1 target, the Scotsman was also keen on Taylor.

    The 24-year-old has impressed at the Liberty Stadium, helping his side to Capital One Cup glory earlier this year, and though he recently signed a new deal with Michael Laudrup's side, that's not to say the Swans won't entertain an offer if a sizable enough bid came in.

    Much like August last year, United are again finding it difficult to land Baines, and perhaps Moyes could share his predecessor's interest in Taylor.

    Alternatively, maybe he should just go for the real McCoy... 

Leighton Baines

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    I think if you gave any United fan their pick of the five left-backs mentioned here on this list, the vast majority would opt for Baines every time.

    Baines is similar to Evra in that he is a goalscoring wing-back not afraid to contribute to the attack from defence and track back-the England international scored five Premier League goals last season, not bad at all for a defender.

    There's an obvious connection between the 28-year-old and Moyes, with the pair on familiar ground following their time together at Everton, and Moyes is a big fan.

    The Scotsman signed Baines for Everton from Wigan Athletic in 2007 and he could be about to sign him for a second time - for Manchester United.

    United have had a £12 million offer for Baines knocked back this summer (The Guardian) and have been told they must increase their offer, and a bid in the region of £15 million may be enough to persuade the Toffees into doing business and cashing in on a player they paid £6 million for

    Which left-back would you like to see at Old Trafford next season? Does Moyes need to strengthen in this position? Let us know in the comment section, below.