It seems Manchester United, despite six league clean sheets in a row, are hell bent on signing a new centre-back in the summer. Ezequiel Garay seems to be the favourite, Jorge Mendes is his new agent and the man behind several deals to Old Trafford in recent years. Toby Alderweireld has been linked in recent weeks, and there’s been tentative links to the likes of Ashley Williams and a return to the club for Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross.
Kurt Zouma’s also been linked but he’d most certainly be one for the future. You wouldn’t know he’s a youngster looking at him but the Saint-Etienne centre-back is rated as one of the world’s future stars. Well, Barcelona SC’s Frickson Erazo is of a similar build but a few years further up the line than Zouma. The 24-year old has yet to play football outside of his native Ecuador but that hasn’t stopped the experts claiming he’d be good enough for the Premier League.
His debut came for El Nacional as a mere 18-year old and six years later he’s made almost 50 appearances for Barcelona and currently has 21 caps for his national side, fully solidifying himself in their starting line-up. United’s scouts have been tracking several centre-backs in recent months and Erazo confirmed himself that there was interest from the would be champions.
Speaking about the interest from United, Erazo said: “It’s true that there was initial contact, but it will not help if my performance drops. I try not to think about this.
“It’s really flattering that big European clubs are watching football in my country, but if you think about playing with Real Madrid or Manchester United you risk losing concentration.”
Frickson’s agent Orlando Villarreal also confirmed there had been talks with United about the defender, but the club will have to pay a larger fee than they may want as the defender still has three years left on this contract with the Ecuadorian champions.
“We travelled to Portugal to meet with some people who showed an interest in Frickson, including a scout from Manchester United,” he said.
“In the case of United, there has been no official offer but we know that United will sign a centre-back and so we made the contact to forward the name of the player.”
Of course, due to his call-ups for the national team Erazo will have come into close contact with United’s current Ecuador international, Antonio Valencia. With Valencia’s long-term future at the club seemingly secure Erazo would have someone close to him as he takes the big step from Ecuador to England.
It may be a case of waiting one more season unless someone tries to steal in before Sir Alex Ferguson, as was the case with Phil Jones in 2011. United wanted to wait one more season but a move from Liverpool prompted United to make their move one year early. But it seems United are well in front of any competition if they want to bring Erazo to Old Trafford, but it all depends on whether a big name such as Garay would come in, and of course what it means for the current crop of United centre-backs.
Despite his good form, it would seem the amount of centre-backs linked with the club means Rio Ferdinand may not get his new contract this summer. Nemanja Vidic is back in form but time isn’t on the Serbian’s side and it seems Sir Alex has other plans for Phil Jones.
There’s every chance Erazo could come in alongside a big name like Garay but remember, unlike Zouma, just because he’s an unknown from South America, he’s not a youngster to be slowly mixed in during the cup runs. Erazo is older than the likes of Chris Smalling and Jones and only a few months behind Jonny Evans, he’d be there to fight for a first team place.
Permission granted for republication. Article originally published on 92Webzine – an annual English Football League preview covering all 92 teams in the league with interviews, team profiles and much more.
Follow @92Webzine on Twitter here.