Manchester United will have to dig themselves out of a hole if they are to make the semifinals of the Europa League.
Defensive mistakes cost them dearly during the first leg of the quarterfinal tie against Sevilla and manager Erik ten Hag will be hoping his players can get the job done on Thursday.
The Dutch boss will not have the luxury of calling upon his first-choice centre back pairing of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez after both of them limped off in the first leg.
United need a new defender
With both World Cup winners done for the season, it will be up to former incumbents — Victor Lindelof and club captain Harry Maguire to get the job done.
The futures of both defenders are in the air following the lack of minutes they have received this season. Both have spoken out at various points regarding how unhappy they are with their new backup role.
Ten Hag is open to offloading one or both as he seeks to raise capital in order to strengthen the side in the summer. And defence is once again a priority position.
One player who has been fervently linked with a move to Old Trafford is Napoli’s Kim Min-jae. He has been a revelation as the team from Naples close in on a historic Serie A title.
Knowledge of a release clause worth €50 million has spread far and wide and that has attracted interest from all over Europe. United’s arch-rivals Liverpool were also said to be in the race for the South Korean.
Napoli are also trying desperately to get the 26-year-old to sign a new contract but so far, nothing concrete has emerged from those discussions.
Kim would prefer United over Liverpool
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, the South Korea international would be far more willing to join the Red Devils than the team from Merseyside.
Fabrizio Romano, speaking on the Here We Go Podcast, said, “From what I understand Napoli are pushing to extend the contract of Kim, but I’m also told that Premier League clubs are attempting it.
“Kim doesn’t want to be distracted with Napoli, but after this week we will be more clear. At the moment, I heard more Man United than Liverpool for Kim Min-Jae, but let’s see, it’s a big opportunity.”
With United more likely to have the Champions League pull, a defender of Kim’s calibre would be the perfect recipe for success. Can the Reds get the deal over the line.
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