Since taking charge, coach Erik ten Hag has spent two summers upgrading Manchester United’s force. However, it feels like the Dutch coach has not yet completed the squad.
Man United’s £400m spend since the appointment of Ten Hag has refreshed almost every position, with clearly mixed results. New recruits could fill nine positions under Ten Hag, including Andre Onana, Jonny Evans, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Casemiro, Eriksen, Mason Mount, Antony and Rasmus Hojlund.
However, right-back and left-winger are two areas that have not been spent on by Ten Hag so far. Marcus Rashford’s good play last season appears to have solved that dilemma on the left, while Alejandro Garnacho also provides competition.
The right back position continues to be a tug of war between Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Dalot was an untouchable player in Ten Hag’s first few months leading Man Utd. His form then declined in the second half of the season and Wan-Bissaka quickly took advantage of the opportunity to revive his career at Old Trafford.
Wan-Bissaka is the more consistent player, but Dalot is said to have greater growth potential. The problem is that people haven’t seen that for a long time and Dalot’s form has been up and down. Dalot becomes too easy to exploit when defending.
The Portuguese player was brought in for £19 million in 2018 and Jose Mourinho commented that he could become Man United’s key defender in 10 years. However, Dalot has not fully developed his own value.
In contrast, Man United spent 50 million pounds to bring Wan-Bissaka to Old Trafford in 2019. This player had a period of decline and was almost sold. Sometimes, the 25-year-old defender plays very solidly and deserves praise, but his ability to participate in attacks is still relatively limited.
Obviously there are always questions surrounding both of these right-backs. Dalot and Wan-Bissaka had memorable moments in Man United colors but lacks the stability and comprehensiveness that a full-back needs.
A year ago, Ten Hag considered the right-back to be at the top of the shopping priority list. However, Wan-Bissaka’s post-World Cup 2022 form has led to a change. Therefore, Ten Hag also focuses on other goals in the summer.
But perhaps it’s time for Ten Hag to get serious about this right-back position. At that time, Dalot or Wan-Bissaka could be sold. Man Utd wants to challenge for the title, they need to own a more complete right-back. Dalot and Wan-Bissaka didn’t play badly, but that wasn’t enough.
Tieu Lam | 21:17 November 17, 2023