Backup at the Back: Manchester United Seek Depth on Defence

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Backup at the Back: Manchester United Seek Depth on Defence
IconManchester United may be in the market for a striker—but the club also need cover at the fullback positions.

Captain Gary Neville has been injured for most of the season—and although Wes Brown is having his best run in the first team, his refusal to sign a contract suggests he might be heading for Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers, or Newcastle on the Bosman next summer.

If he's savvy, Alex Ferguson will grab Philipp Lahm as a long-term replacement for Neville. If the Red Devils can match the transfer sum from Bayern, Lahm's arrival will mean big things for the back four.

The versatile fullback can play comfortably at both left and right back, and possesses great pace and fantastic dribbling abilities.

In the wake of Gabriel Heinze's summer departure, United haven't had a fully fit left back to cover Patrice Evra. Mikael Silvestre's injuries and inconsistent performance suggest his days are numbered at Old Trafford. And although John O'Shea can cover a variety of positions in defence and midfield, he isn't particularly good at any of them.

The Times has said that Lahm would be an ideal target during next month's transfer window, but the chances are slim that Bayern would let a key player leave in midseason.

Lahm's teammate Willy Sagnol has also been linked with United, but nothing is concrete yet.

The 30-year old French international is regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the world. He can also play the wingback position, and his fantastic crossing ability would add great value to United's talented squad.

Sagnol was quoted as follows on November 25th:

"I asked the club's board several weeks ago to let me leave in the winter break."

His desire to leave the German giants suggests Sagnol would be a more realistic January target than Lahm.

Only time will tell if either player dons a United jersey in the near future.
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