With just one victory in four Champions League matches and a sixth-place finish in the Premier League standings, Manchester United’s current performance has brought the team dangerously close to a catastrophe.
Erik ten Hag is currently under a lot of strain because of this, and he can no longer afford to make mistakes with a string of important games approaching.
The Old Trafford team will play Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the upcoming weeks. If they can make it through this difficult stretch uninjured, the Dutchman may yet have hope.
His team’s performance will be crucial, too, since they have had trouble controlling games this season and have struggled in key games due to a failing offence.
Not only that, but at times this term their defence has also verged on the absurd. Even though it’s not even December yet, the Red Devils have already given up 30 goals in just 18 games.
Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag
Ten Hag has been let down by players who may have had a better chance to leave the club in the summer transfer window, which is perhaps why they are failing both domestically and in Europe.
The former Ajax manager needs better defenders than Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, and they have had to play more than expected because of other players’ injuries.
This season’s stats for Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof
The two make £370k a week together, which is 9% of the weekly salary cost, but their on-field performances are insufficient to justify such a large sum of money.
The two currently rank fourth and 12th in the league for interceptions per game (0.7 and 0.4), and they rank 15th and 16th, respectively, across the United squad in terms of tackles per game (0.6 and 0.4). These statistics make it evident how little of an impact they are having on the team’s defence.
It appears that they are having trouble competing one-on-one against other players as Lindelof has only won 41% of his ground duels in the league this season, while Maguire has only won 50% of his.
Ten Hag should get Lisandro Martínez back to normal as soon as possible. The Dutchman will have to make do with the aforementioned pair until the January transfer window at the latest.
Only a few weeks remain until the transfer market opens, and it seems the 53-year-old is considering a move for one or more defenders, with a Frenchman emerging as a top target.
The possible successor to Maguire and Lindelof
Ten Hag hasn’t given up on Jean-Clair Todibo despite the fact that the Nice star was initially a target for the team during the summer transfer window and no deal ever materialised.
The Mirror reports that the Old Trafford team is putting emphasis on signing a defender during the next winter transfer window, which suggests they may pursue Todibo once more.
Sir James Ratcliffe, who owns Nice and is on the verge of acquiring a 25% stake in Manchester United, may potentially benefit the Red Devils in any future trade. Todibo plays for Nice.
Ten Hag is eager to expand his options at the back and will be working hard to prevent a recurrence of the summertime setback he suffered against him in the coming weeks.
However, given that the manager is unsure of the exact budget he will have to deal with, he could have to let go of a few players in order for this to happen.
Career statistics for Jean-Clair Todibo
Before moving to Barcelona in 2019, the Frenchman began his career with Toulouse. However, his time in Spain didn’t exactly go as planned, as he only made five appearances.
The defender made his Nice debut in 2021 and hasn’t looked back since. He has over 100 appearances under his belt and has even earned two caps for France recently, demonstrating his progress over the past two years.
Todibo, Jean-Clair Statistics for Ligue 1
Per game, precise passes
tackles for each game
each game’s interceptions
Total wins in each game’s duels
Figures from Sofascore
One of the most underappreciated CBs in Europe right now, according to talent scout Jacek Kulig, who showered him with praise at the beginning of the season. had an excellent season in spite of Nice’s significant underperformance. Excellent defensive qualities and build-up. the entire bundle.
Considering his recent numbers for the French team, United obviously missed a mark by not bringing him to Manchester.
When compared to his positional contemporaries over the past 12 months, the 6 foot 2 titan did indeed impress. He performed exceptionally well across a wide range of performance indicators, as seen by his current rankings in the top 5% for tackles per 90 (2.47), the top 10% for attempted passes per 90 (76.4), and the top 7% for successful take-ons per 90 (0.62).
Being one of the finest players in his team, he also ranks second in the Nice squad for accurate passes made per game (78.2) in Ligue 1, as well as for tackles made per game (two) and interceptions made per game (1.4).
Undoubtedly, the 23-year-old possesses immense talent, and the next phase of his career would be to secure a transfer to the Premier League, where he can further enhance his skills in the English language.
The young player has demonstrated that he is prepared to advance to a team like United, and given their current defensive struggles, he would strengthen their defence right away.
It’s unlikely that Maguire and Lindelof will be in Manchester for very long. The current season’s contract expires for the Swede, and it seems doubtful that he would sign a new one.
While the Englishman’s contract is one year longer, he is unlikely to still be playing by then given how close he was to signing with West Ham United in the summer.
After a difficult run of fixtures, Ten Hag’s next window may be his most significant to yet, albeit a lot will depend on whether he is still in command.
The second part of the season may see a dramatic turnaround for United if he is and they are able to sign one or two elite defenders.