After the thrilling last-gasp victory over Fulham in the last Premier League game ahead of the six-game World Cup break, Manchester United find themselves only three points behind fourth with a game in hand.
Since taking over, Erik ten Hag has not only steadied the ship but improved a lot of things at the club. From previously under-performing players finding their groove to building a strong sense of unity in the squad, the changes are there for all to see.
However, the issues with regards to a competitive squad remain. The Dutchman has fixed a leaky defence and added steel and guile to the midfield but question marks remain over the right-back slot and the forward line.
And Ten Hag has spoken of Diogo Dalot and how he is overburdened at the moment and publicly claimed that the Red Devils need two quality right-backs to fight for the position.
He even tried out Tyrell Malacia in that position and the Dutch full-back did not have the best of games.
🚨 Benjamin Pavard to @Gazzetta_it:
“Giroud always tells me that Italy is a country that lives football at 100%. He told me about the magic of the derby and the great celebrations of the fans for the Scudetto. I would like to play with him because he is a big friend. We’ll see.” pic.twitter.com/7pPjojwW2f
— CHAMPIONS OF ITALY 🏆 (@MilanEye) November 15, 2022
And reports have emerged wherein the 24-year-old is closing in on a permanent move back to Crystal Palace in January. And that would suggest an alternative must be brought in.
The Peoples Person had reported about United’s interest in Bayern Munich star Benjamin Pavard with the French World Cup winner frustrated with the lack of opportunities so far this season.
The Frenchman has also spoken of trying out a new challenge in a new country and in a different league and United’s sporting project under Ten Hag would certainly be of interest.
United were reportedly keen on adding the 26-year-old to the mix in the summer but talks did not materialise in the end with the club choosing to block Wan-Bissaka’s proposed exit.
Pavard has since spoken to La Gazzetta dello Sport and mentioned his love for the Serie A and how the Italian league fascinates him after having conversations with his national teammates.
Pavard rules out United move?
And even more importantly, Pavard wants to enter the new stage of his career and attain success as a centre-back.
“With Bayern I won everything. I play to win and I’m available to evaluate new interesting projects, but as a central defender,” he was quoted as saying.
“Olivier (Giroud) always tells me that Italy is a country that thrives on football one hundred per cent. He told me about the magic of the derbies, the big fan celebrations for the Scudetto.
“I’d really like to play with him also because he’s a great friend. We’ll see.”
This indicates his inclination to move to Italy instead of England and Ten Hag would prefer bringing in someone who is more adept at playing as a full-back instead of someone who wants to play in the centre of defence.