Since the arrival of Jose Mourinho, a significant chunk of the Man Utd team has needed a rebuild. The attack lacked the vigour and excitement of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, whilst the end of the dominant period led by the likes of Roy Keane and others brought a lack of quality to the midfield.
However, perhaps the biggest area of his concern was the defence. He didn’t have the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to call on. Instead, he had to settle for players that, realistically speaking, wouldn’t have got close to the starting eleven for many of Man Utd’s main title rivals.
He’s now looking to change that though, at least according to the Telegraph. The Telegraph report that Man Utd are in talks over a move for Bayern Munich ace Jerome Boateng, with Mourinho clearly eager to improve his defence this summer. Talks are said to be happening around the £50 million mark.
Bringing in the German would, undoubtedly, have a pretty huge impact defensively, as it would allow the Red Devils to finally have a couple of defenders worthy of wearing that famous red shirt.
Indeed, the acquisition of Boateng would allow Mourinho to finally conclude the much-needed defensive rebuild that he has been working on at Old Trafford by allowing him to, at last, move on the players that aren’t good enough.
In particular, there are TWO players that, if Boateng were to sign, should genuinely be sold by Mourinho – subsequently completing the Man Utd defence.
Chris Smalling has been at Man Utd since 2010, and in the eight years following his switch, he’s won a handful of trophies – including two Premier League titles.
However, rarely during that period has he looked solid in a red shirt.
On his day he’s a decent player, but he’s never been a player on which a Man Utd manager can truly rely. In truth, you never really know which sort of Chris Smalling you’re going to get.
He can be quick, solid in the air, decent with his feet and positionally sound, but he can also be none of those things. Over the last few years, in particular, he’s never been able to string together more than a few games without a major mistake.
With Man Utd looking to break into the title race, then, that’s not what Jose Mourinho needs. Not to mention, he’ll be 29-years-old by the end of the year, and so the likelihood of him improving is low.
If Boateng were to join, there would be far less need for Smalling to be in there as a rotational option, especially with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly waiting in the wings.
Phil Jones has had many of the same issues as Chris Smalling.
His main problem has been his injuries. He’s missed large parts of the season fairly regularly throughout his career, and so whilst you never know which Chris Smalling you’re going to get – you never really know if you’re going to get Jones at all!
He proved last season that, on his day, he can be a fantastic option, but he also proved during his few minutes at the World Cup that form is certainly temporary.
There’s an argument that could be made to suggest that Jones should remain at Old Trafford even if Boateng joins as a decent piece of depth, but his lack of certainty surrounding fitness makes him unreliable.
That, again, is not what Man Utd need.