Manchester United’s new manager Erik Ten Hag has identified centre back as a problem position for the club after the English giants ended the season with a goal difference of zero. The English club have stepped up their interest in S.C. Braga defender David Carmo.
The former Ajax coach’s preferred choice is fellow countryman Jurrien Timber who can also double up as a right-back. But in case the deal does not happen, the club are also in negotiations with the Primeira Liga club for the left-footed defender, according to the Manchester Evening News. United have already held two rounds of discussions with the player’s representatives.
The 22-year-old is a physically imposing defender, standing at an impressive height of 6 ft 5 in and he received his first national team call-up last week.
After coming back from a disastrous ankle injury, the former Benfica youth product has gone from strength to strength and has attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur with his no nonsense style of defending.
His physicality would also be well suited to the Premier League and being a natural left-footed defender is another bonus with the Red Devils currently without a left-footed centre back since they sold Marcos Rojo.
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Erik Ten Hag is well aware of his new side’s defensive frailties. Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof all had poor seasons.
Timber would be the ideal signing, having already played under Ten Hag in Ajax. But the Premier League is a different beast altogether and receiving a starting berth automatically is not how things will work. In a World Cup year, it will be imperative that the Dutch star gets regular playing time.
“You can go to a big club. But if you’re not going to play there it’s better to stay with Ajax. And Ajax is also a big club. We play football in the Champions League and I play there together with the best players in the Netherlands. That is not nothing,” Timber had said.
The English giants also have a long-standing interest in Villareal defender Pau Torres. But with no Champions League to offer, such a deal looks unlikely at the moment.
Keeping these factors in mind, a move for the Portugal U-20 international makes sense. Carmo would possibly be a much cheaper alternative to Torres and he also has the experience of playing in the Europa League, featuring against the likes of Leicester City and Rangers. He currently has a release clause of €40m million but he could come for much less.
He might not be the finished product, but Ten Hag has shown the ability to nurture talent and Carmo might just prove to be a masterstroke of an acquisition if the deal does happen. It also makes sense for the English giants to keep alternatives ready at this stage.