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The potential candidates to back up Luke Shaw next year – Man United News And Transfer News

Luke Shaw’s importance to the Manchester United team can be understood in Erik ten Hag’s recent comments about the 28-year-old.

Speaking to Sky Sports before United’s game against Luton Town yesterday the Dutchman claimed, “If Luke Shaw is fit he plays, he adds a new level to Manchester United’s game”.

This sentiment is also echoed by The Athletic , who have pointed out the numerous advantages the Englishman brings to Ten Hag’s United.

“The England left-back is not only their best defender in wide areas, he is also vital to how Ten Hag’s team progress the ball between the two penalty boxes. Shaw’s left-footedness is essential to Ten Hag’s tactics and the Dutchman values the passing angles and defensive orientation this brings”.

According to the American outlet, numerous United players also benefit from the Englishman’s presence as “Ten Hag said that his presence makes Harry Maguire a more viable option at left centre-back. When sharing the left flank with Shaw, Marcus Rashford’s attacking game is also much improved. Rasmus Hojlund is another, with the Dane enjoying the low crosses Shaw plays into the penalty area”.

However, there is a catch. Shaw gets injured a lot. Not as much as he used to, but still too frequently. United fans were relieved when they saw the defender recover from a knock at Villa Park last week to make the first eleven against Luton yesterday afternoon.

However, clearly never 100%, the England international had a torrid afternoon against the raw speed and power of Luton’s Chiedozie Ogbene and had to be subbed off just before the interval with an injury.

United’s left-back situation has been compounded by the fact last season’s solid backup Tyrell Malacia has not played all season owing to a serious injury.

The lack of options has resulted in a revel bag of deputies such as Sofyan Amrabat and most recently Victor Lindelof being tasked to cover unfamiliar terrain.

Therefore, United need a backup defender who can contribute in an attacking sense but also provide the defensive capabilities that a healthy, in-form Shaw brings to the table. Moreover, the potential left-back must be young enough to sit on the bench to deputise for Shaw but also be experienced enough to contribute when called upon.

Here are three potential options INEOS could look to bring in during the summer window.

Miguel Gutierrez

The strongest candidate for the role is the 22-year-old Girona left-back. The Spaniard is described as “a tactical marvel, adept at making overlapping and underlapping attacking runs, and knows when to invert into midfield
and involve himself in his side’s smart attacking rotations”.

The defender would certainly fit Ten Hag’s preferred tactics of inverted full backs which Diogo Dalot has been able to perform to such great effect this season.

The Liga player would add youth but also experience in top-level football, playing for an incredibly attractive Girona side. He may not have the defensive acumen of the second option below but would certainly add more to the possession side of the game.

Aaron Hickey

The 21-year-old Scottish fullback had been in impressive form for Brentford before picking up a serious injury at the end of October. The defender is still out of action, after suffering a recent setback but has shown a lot of promise since breaking into the West London team.

According to footballobservatory.com, the fullback is rated as one of the most promising two-way left-backs in the league.

Despite his injury, Hickey fits the INEOS model of young, British and Premier League proven. The youngster would be more than prepared to sit on the bench for a couple of seasons and learn from Shaw, with the view of becoming United’s long-term left-back option.

Destiny Udogie

Another potential option, that would certainly be the hardest to achieve, is that of Tottenham’s youngster, Destiny Udogie.

Rated by footballobervatory.com as one of the best young two-way defenders in world football, he certainly has had an impressive time of it in Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs system.

The young Italian has played 23 times this season, scoring two goals and contributing three assists.

Whilst removing him from Daniel Levy’s clutches may prove impossible, he is certainly an interesting choice to keep an eye on. Furthermore, at only 21 years old, he fits the exact profile of a young, balanced defender, who already has experience of top-flight football in Italy and in England.

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