91.4% pass success – Man United can easily strengthen their defence by signing this young Italian wall

Manchester United should go all out to sign Alessio Romagnoli in January

According to ESPN, AC Milan centre-back Alessio Romagnoli is the latest addition to Jose Mourinho’s shopping list as the Portuguese tactician looks forward to the January transfer window to bolster his options at the back.

Jose Mourinho has been at the receiving end of a lot of criticism for United’s lacklustre performances in the ongoing season. The Red Devils currently sit 8th in the standings with 13 points from their first eight games.

As evident from their defensive record, Mourinho’s men have shipped more goals than their rivals and that has been the cause of their undoing this season. United are currently 7 points behind league leaders Manchester City and much of their woes this season have been down to their porous and vulnerable backline.

With the exception of Chris Smalling, none of the centre-backs has stepped up this season. Victor Lindelof has been rather shambolic with his positioning and has let the team down on numerous occasions with lapses in concentration while Eric Bailly’s lack of composure and discipline has proved to be disastrous at times.

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Phil Jones has had his troubles with injuries and the English international has looked rusty in the few games that he has played.

Consequently, the manager hasn’t been able to consistently field the same players at the back and he has been forced to try a new combination in the heart of the defence for every alternate game. He has even opted to go in with Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay as makeshift centre-backs.

It’s not that the move has worked as it has led to disastrous consequences. Ander Herrera looked completely lost when Mourinho shifted him to a centre-back position against Tottenham and the lack of confidence in his natural centre-backs was pretty clear when he opted to field Scott McTominay at the back against West Ham despite having the services of a fit Eric Bailly on the bench.

On another occasion against Newcastle, Mourinho substituted Eric Bailly after just 18 minutes and pushed McTominay at the back instead of bringing on Victor Lindelof from the bench.

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Quite clearly, United need a centre-back of the highest quality to challenge for the Premier League title. Mourinho couldn’t convince the club’s investors to invest in Toby Alderweireld, Jerome Boateng and Diego Godin in the summer due to their age being on the higher side (h/t ESPN) but he might have better luck with the highly-rated Alessio Romagnoli, who is only 23.

As things stand, Mourinho needs a complete defender and AC Milan’s Romagnoli definitely ticks all the boxes for a complete centre-back. A defender characterised by wonderful technique, excellent positional sense and high levels of composure, the 23-year-old Italian international is adept at keeping the attackers at bay.

He is a ball-playing centre-back who excels with his good range of passing and ball distribution. He has the ability to set up attacks from the back. The Italian has a pass success rate of 91.4% in the Serie A, which is quite unusual for a centre-back.

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To go with his technique and ball-playing abilities, he is very good with his positioning and has exhibited commendable situational awareness in the Serie A. He has an extremely calm head and does not wilt under pressure from the opposition in one-on-one situations.

Furthermore, he is a tactically versatile centre-back who has the ability to play in a high defensive line and in a deep defensive line according to the manager’s requirement and excels in the air.

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Romagnoli is one of the most consistent and vastly talented young centre-backs in the Serie A and Manchester United will have to spend a fortune to prise him away from the San Siro. But they should not hesitate to splash the cash given that he has all the qualities to become a trusted long-term servant at the back.

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