The Red Devils have lost two legendary club players from their centre-back ranks. Despite the departures of club heroes Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, most rumours continue to link the Old Trafford club to midfielders.
Although the Reds' defence was solid last year, allowing only 43 goals, United must focus on improving their back line. David De Gea proved himself a world class keeper, having arguably his best season ever and is a no-brainer first choice goalkeeper for the side. However, United could not seem to win the big games against top notch opposition and new defensive signings are a must if the club wants this to change.
Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Rafael & co have the makings of a decent back four, but not a championship-winning one. With Ferdinand and Vidic out, the back line would ultimately be inexperienced and liable to concede goals, especially against top class opponents.
Meanwhile, links to midfielders from Germany, Italy, Spain, and anywhere else you can think of continue to flow in. After being linked to many of Van Gaal's former players at Bayern Munich (such as Muller and Schweinsteiger), Arturo Vidal has been the latest name thrown into the mix. While these players would of course help the Red Devils in the upcoming season, the lack of attention paid to the main liability, the problem in defence, is alarming.
Southampton left-back Luke Shaw has been heavily linked to the Manchester side and would be a keen signing for the future. However, preparing for the future is not the mindset of a team that was preparing to defend the title just a year ago. United should work to bolster the defence, much like Chelsea has done with the additions of Kurt Zouma and their pursuit of Felipe Luis.
Manchester United was rumoured to be chasing Ezequiel Garay earlier this year and should continue to pursue the Argentinian international. A reported €20 million release clause would be a bargain for the Red Devils, and allow them to get a world class defender for a reasonable price. They should close in on Alberto Moreno, who would bolster the defensive line on the flanks. He also has the potential to become one of the best full backs in the world and would probably make a more immediate impact then Luke Shaw.
So even though the links to star midfielders are exciting, defence must be a priority for Manchester United. Defence can win championships, and that is exactly what United aim to do following their disappointing year.
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