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Reviewing Manchester United's Defensive Options for Next Season

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentMay 6, 2014

Reviewing Manchester United's Defensive Options for Next Season

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    The new Manchester United manager, whoever it is, will find a big job waiting for him at Old Trafford.

    The squad is in need of a facelift and it's likely the board will sanction a major overhaul this summer.

    One of the areas that needs to be addressed is the defence. There is a core of talented young players like David De Gea, Rafael, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling already at Old Trafford.

    But with the possibility that Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand might follow Nemanja Vidic in leaving the club, the defence will need to be strengthened.

    Here's a review of the defensive options open to the new manager.

    Feel free to use the comments section below to add your own.

Goalkeeper

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Goalkeeper is perhaps the one position United's new manager won't have to worry about.

    David De Gea is one of the few members of the squad who can hold his head up after such a disastrous season.

    Still only 23 years old, United could get at least another 10 years out of the Spaniard, who arrived at Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

    The only danger is that he might one day be tempted back to La Liga. 

    United also have the benefit of an able deputy in Anders Lindegaard.

Right-Back

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    There wasn't any doubt about United's right-back spot this time last year.

    Rafael had made the position his own and become one of the best attacking full-backs in the Premier League in the process.

    But he's had a poor season.

    He hasn't been helped by injury but at times he's looked like the reckless, immature Rafael who first broke into the team.

    At 23 years old, he's got plenty of time to rediscover his best form. And if he doesn't, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are able replacements. 

    At the very least, there are bigger issues for the new manager to fix.

Left-Back

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Left-back is one of the areas United's new manager will have to look at.

    Patrice Evra has been first-choice for eight years. But he's out of contract at the end of the season and told the Manchester Evening News he still hasn't made a decision about his future.

    I will decide in two weeks about what I am going to do.

    I am not lying to anyone. There have been a lot of rumours. Am I going or staying. At the moment I have not decided anything. My agent will have a meeting with Manchester United and we will see.

    Even if the Frenchman does stay, United will still need to add competition for his place. Fabio has moved to Cardiff and Alex Buttner hasn't shown he's good enough, although he did do well against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

    Luke Shaw and Fabio Coentrao are the most likely candidates to arrive in the summer, per Simon Austin of the Daily Mirror. Still a teenager, Shaw could be United's left-back for the next decade if they can tempt Southampton to sell.

Centre-Backs

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Nemanja Vidic's decision to leave Old Trafford for Serie A and Inter at the end of the season means United will need at least one new centre-back before next season.

    They might need two if Rio Ferdinand follows Vidic out of the door.

    Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling all have the chance to emerge as first-choice under the new manager. Youngsters Michael Keane and Tom Thorpe will both have the chance to break into the squad.

    Other options include Stefan de Vrij from Feyenoord and Celtic's Virgil van Dijk, two players Louis van Gaal, at least, will know all about from his time in charge of Holland.

    German Matthias Ginter might also be available from Freiburg.

    More experienced, and more expensive, alternatives include Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels and Benfica's Ezequiel Garay.

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