As one of the biggest clubs in world football, it is no surprise to see Manchester United being linked with the biggest names in football.
The Red Devils’ have endured a shambolic start to the campaign and are in dire need of reinforcements. Left-back is one of the positions marked by Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward as an area that could do with improvement.
Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba has been linked with a move to Old Trafford following his fruitless contract negotiations with the Catalan club. The Portuguese manager is said to be a fervent admirer of the Spaniard and wouldn’t hesitate to splash the cash, should he become available.
However, considering his status as one of the top 3 left backs in the world right now, Alba definitely won’t be bought for a song. Also, Lionel Messi and Ernesto Valverde won’t let him go easily. The 29-year-old has been valued at £54 million.
In that context, Manchester United could have a look at these 3 left-backs who can offer the same goods as the Barcelona man and would come at a cheaper price:
#3 Ferland Mendy (Lyon)
The Lyon left-back is one of the highly-rated youngsters in the world at the moment. He is also being viewed as a possible understudy for Jordi Alba at Barcelona, a replacement for Lucas Digne.
Mendy has fine dribbling qualities, notching an average of 2 successful dribbles per game. He also averages 1.2 key passes per game and would add better creativity as a second-choice left-back than Ashley Young.
The 23-year-old boasts an excellent pass success rate of 88.1% and is also strong in the air, winning 1.1 aerial duels per game.
#2 Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid)
For a 22-year-old, Lucas Hernandez has a plethora of experience compared to his age. At such an early stage in his career, he is already a World Cup winner, a Europa League winner and a Champions League runner-up.
Also capable of operating as a centre-back apart from a left-back, Hernandez has a pass success rate of 82.9%. He is also good in the air and wins 1.6 aerial duels per game. The Frenchman is a strong tackler who averages 2.1 tackles per game.
Having such a young player on your roster, one who comes with mammoth experience for his age, is definitely a boon.
For all that he offers to Atletico Madrid on the left-flank, Lucas Hernandez has been valued at £36 million. A World Cup winner at that price is nigh impossible to find, but United are lucky to be looking at one.
#1 Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli)
Should Atletico Madrid demand a hefty fee for all the experience Lucas Hernandez has got at his age, United could turn to another cost-effective deal for a much-experienced player than the Frenchman.
Jose Mourinho was rumoured to be lining up a £40 million bid for Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam this January. The Algerian is yet to feature for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season as he is nursing himself from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. He is projected to make a return in November.
The 27-year-old is also capable of playing as a midfielder and a winger on the left flank. His crossing abilities would help United in exploiting their opponents in the air; he is also good at taking set-pieces. He is well-adept at holding the ball and dishing out key passes.
Stats courtesy: Whoscored.com
Transfer values courtesy: Transfermarkt.com