Manchester United are reportedly close to a transfer deal for Sporting defender Marcos Rojo and still looking at adding Ajax's Daley Blind, and a defensive double-dip would be the perfect solution to this transfer saga.
The Daily Mirror's John Cross knows the Red Devils are planning a move for both players instead of focusing on just one, and Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke claims Rojo has already informed his current club he wants to move to Manchester:
Sky Sources: Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo has handed in a transfer request and says he wants to join Manchester United. #MUFC— Pete O'Rourke (@SkySportsPeteO) August 12, 2014
Rojo's move to the Red Devils seems close to a certainty at this point, and it would be natural to assume that would mean the end for the club's interest in Blind.
The Dutch international is still open to the idea of a reunion with Louis van Gaal, as reported by Cross. Blind was quoted saying: "I am happy here in Amsterdam. But if there comes another club, I will have to think about it and then we will see. I will think about my options. For now I will focus on Ajax and we will see what happens next week."
Buying two defenders in one go may seem like overkill, but in this situation, it would be the right move. Both players are very versatile and could cover a number of positions, but versatility isn't always a good thing.
In football, there are two kinds of versatility. Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller is one of the best attackers in the world because he has the versatility to roam the entire pitch and score from any area.
In contrast, Rojo is a good, not great defender because he doesn't stand out enough in one particular area. It's why the Daily Mirror's Ed Malyon isn't overly excited about this proposed transfer:
Marcos Rojo not good enough for Man United IMO. Best position is on left of a back three, rather than left-back as in WC, but still no.— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) August 12, 2014
The Argentine international is 24 years old and still growing as a player. He did most of his work as a centre-back in 2013-14 but was forced to play left-back at the 2014 World Cup, and while his performances were more than solid, he was never mentioned as a top defender.
Similarly, Blind has done some work as a centre-back in the past and is widely known as a left-back by trade, but some of his best performances have actually come as a holding midfielder, where he has more space to use his excellent passing.
Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos started his career as a left-back and was viewed as a good, but not a great defender for a large part of his career. He switched between a wide and a central role for a long time, but once he got the chance to fully adapt to playing as a centre-back, he was able to blossom into the player he is today.
Nobody is suggesting Rojo will become the next Ramos, but the big Argentine can only benefit from a defined role with the club. He could act as cover for Luke Shaw and play left-back if needed, but his development will be far greater if he is able to focus on just playing one position.
Which transfer should the Red Devils pursue?
Blind is football's equivalent of a Swiss Army knife. He's likely never going to be a world-class anything, but he doesn't have to be. He could act as the versatile asset who can play some holding midfielder and roam the left flank when called upon.
By bringing in both players, Van Gaal would eliminate any questions people might still have about his squad's defence and a perceived lack of depth. The Red Devils would be pretty much set for the 2014-15 campaign, and any additional transfer moves could focus on other areas, like a starting holding midfielder or a top winger.
Mats Hummels isn't leaving Borussia Dortmund anytime soon, and with the exception of Mehdi Benatia, Rojo is likely the best remaining centre-back on the market. United need to move now if they wish to solidify their defensive core, and a double swoop for Rojo and Blind would be the club's best possible scenario.