Centre Back... Who do we go for?

JXCK

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Upamecano or Konate
France are absolutely blessed with talent, every other young up and coming player is french, being Scottish you can imagine my utter jealousy
 

JoeyJoJoJrShabadoo

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I'm not recommending him as I've not followed him - but how good has Tyrone Mings been this season?
He had a good season. If he was 22 he would be on a plane to a top team. 6'5 & left footed. Marshalls the back line. Makes too many individual errors to be considered a top level defender sadly.
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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What Cb out there is actually a significant upgrade on Lindelof or Maguire? I mean a CB that can transform our defense that is the third best in the country to number 1. We shouldn't spend 40m + on any CB that isn't likely to do that
 

kirk buttercup

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Upamenaco hands down . Although if Axel can stay fit or Mengi turns out to be as good as people in the know on here say he is then Maybe we are ok .
 

keithsingleton

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Upamenaco hands down . Although if Axel can stay fit or Mengi turns out to be as good as people in the know on here say he is then Maybe we are ok .
I have serious doubts Axel can make the grade for United, if we're very lucky maybe a bench player. Unfortunately he has to go for me.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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Vertonghen going on a free. A left footed centre back, who can play left back. Experienced player, who is good on the ball, good aerially and is a leader. Only thing is, he's quite slow. Be a decent stop gap though whilst waiting for Tuanzebe to progress or keeping an eye out on a new centre back.
 

joedirt87

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^

It's probably Upamecano and Koulibaly from all the stories that have been run recently about targeting a CB.
 

Dazzmondo

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Anybody know anything about Torres?
I like Pau Torres more than Ake. He's solid in the air (although he should actually win a lot more headers than he does considering his height) and good on the ball. His long balls in particular are very good. I'd still prefer Upamecano but if we're intent on getting a left-footed cb, which we seem to be, he's one of the better options that seem to be available.
 

Wednesday at Stoke

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Both left-footed, decent on the ball and useless in the air. I'm not sure that's necessarily the right profile if we're looking for someone to pair with Lindelof/Maguire.
Maguire is quite good aerially, I haven't ever seen Torres play but Ake definitely has recovery pace and instincts that would complement either Maguire or Lindelöf.
 

Infra-red

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Maguire is quite good aerially, I haven't ever seen Torres play but Ake definitely has recovery pace and instincts that would complement either Maguire or Lindelöf.
Ideally, I think we want someone who would compliment both Maguire and Lindelof, the latter of which isn't great aerially.

Essentially, we're looking for someone quick, who is decent in 1v1s, and can head the ball. He could then partner either Maguire or Lindelof, covering for each of their weaknesses, rather than compounding them.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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I like Pau Torres more than Ake. He's solid in the air (although he should actually win a lot more headers than he does considering his height) and good on the ball. His long balls in particular are very good. I'd still prefer Upamecano but if we're intent on getting a left-footed cb, which we seem to be, he's one of the better options that seem to be available.
Not too sure about that (look at picture below). Although with Torres's height, he can improve it. Never watch Torres but based on YouTube alone, his ability on the ball reminds me of Laporte, really good indeed. I'm just not convinced with Upamecano. A centre back who relies on pace and only proven 1 season, had not convincing history on his injury record previous seasons with no international experience despite highly rated he is, feels like a Mangala vibes to me.

 

Adnan

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Pau Torres does look a very interesting prospect from the little i've seen on YouTube. He's also tall so I expect him to improve on his aerial ability.
 

Lash

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Pau Torres plays next to Raul Albiol, so he will be covering CB, rather than the one who goes up for the header. I'd like to see a % of aerials he wins, rather than the raw number.
 

WR10

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Last year: 78 goals conceded in 53 games.
This year: 48 goals conceded in 58 games.

Transformative. Maguire has been a bargain at 80m. He may have individual weaknesses but his organizational and leadership at the back literally stopped 30 goals from going in this season. Still young too.
Anyway, a backup CB to replace jones/rojo would be good security.
 

Dazzmondo

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Not too sure about that (look at picture below). Although with Torres's height, he can improve it. Never watch Torres but based on YouTube alone, his ability on the ball reminds me of Laporte, really good indeed. I'm just not convinced with Upamecano. A centre back who relies on pace and only proven 1 season, had not convincing history on his injury record previous seasons with no international experience despite highly rated he is, feels like a Mangala vibes to me.

Oh ok, ya didn't think it would be as bad as that. I do know he is a bit suspect at times in the air as I have noticed him missing a few headers he should have won in the games I watched him play. Even so, he has the advantage of natural height that someone like Ake doesn't have. Because of this I feel like he will have to improve this as he gets older. It feels like Lindelof has improved a lot in the air since last season for example.

I feel like Upamecano was having an excellent season for Leipzig before the restart. I think people are criticising Upamecano more because so many people watched the first few Bundesliga games when it returned and hadn't actually watched that many games before that in the season. Upamecano has made a number of mistakes in the games since the restart and Leipzig in general have not looked as strong defensively as they did pre-lockdown (they had the best defence in the Bundesliga prior to the restart). I think Upamecano is generally very strong on the ball, has good positioning, is a strong tackler, and also is an excellent short passer (though he doesn't generally attempt those type of long passes that Torres does). He's also generally good in the air though this season he hasn't been as good as his previous seasons in this regard. Still, this is the only season where this has been a bit of a weakness for him so I would consider it a one off at this point. The concern about his long-term injury is fair but it hasn't really recurred this season, and in fact it's been Konate (another very good Leipzig cb) who has had the problems with injury this season.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Oh ok, ya didn't think it would be as bad as that. I do know he is a bit suspect at times in the air as I have noticed him missing a few headers he should have won in the games I watched him play. Even so, he has the advantage of natural height that someone like Ake doesn't have. Because of this I feel like he will have to improve this as he gets older. It feels like Lindelof has improved a lot in the air since last season for example.
The problem about Ake aerial duel is just his height. However, he has the aggressiveness to win header & also good when aiming it with his head. Ake scored 11 goals for 4 seasons in Bournemouth. That's more than Lindelof's entire career.

The problem of Lindelof aerial duel is that, despite of being much higher than Ake, Lindelof lacks toughness & strength to win header and very bad aiming the ball with his head. That warm up in the Mourinho's Sky Sport Pundit sums it up (look at picture below). Very often I see Lindelof missed the header or not clearing the ball outside the dangerous zone.

Don't know much about Torres's problem why he's just so poor in the air.



I feel like Upamecano was having an excellent season for Leipzig before the restart. I think people are criticising Upamecano more because so many people watched the first few Bundesliga games when it returned and hadn't actually watched that many games before that in the season. Upamecano has made a number of mistakes in the games since the restart and Leipzig in general have not looked as strong defensively as they did pre-lockdown (they had the best defence in the Bundesliga prior to the restart). I think Upamecano is generally very strong on the ball, has good positioning, is a strong tackler, and also is an excellent short passer (though he doesn't generally attempt those type of long passes that Torres does). He's also generally good in the air though this season he hasn't been as good as his previous seasons in this regard. Still, this is the only season where this has been a bit of a weakness for him so I would consider it a one off at this point. The concern about his long-term injury is fair but it hasn't really recurred this season, and in fact it's been Konate (another very good Leipzig cb) who has had the problems with injury this season.
When people are talking about Konate & Upamecano, I am just not convinced. I feel like they could be one wonder season type of centre back. Really need to let them to prove themselves that they aren't just one or two wonder season like Mangala. I watched Upamecano few times before and I'm impressed with his defending skills & has the assets to be world class. However, I haven't watch him enough more than 10 games to come into conclusion if he's not just a defender who relies on pace & physical power. We've seen this type of centre back can look good for one or two season.

Pau Torres, despite of never watch him, at least he doesn't seem to be the type of centre back who relies on physical power alone and already made 1 international appearance at least with no bad injury record.

I have watched Ake and I always impress with him except when he played against us, but this season when they beat us 1-0 I thought he did very well. For 35m price, he's absolutely worth a punt due to less risk, much more PL & international experience & very versatile play in 3 different position compared to Upamecano & Konate. And not very often we see homegrown centre back with such experience cost 35m in today's market.
 

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Juventus have both Demiral and Rugani getting 5 league starts each so they are clearly overstocked with CBs. They might not have plans for this young man who has been on loan at Genoa. Aggressive, ball winning CB who started 28 league games unlike our aggressive ball winning CB Bailly. Comfortable on the ball, can be quick. Didnt contribute any goals though and his CB partner takes care of a few more of the balls in the air but he would be playing next to Maguire who is strong in the air. Perhaps with covid and Juventus' overstocking of CBs he might be available for around the same £24 million they paid for him last summer before sending him out on loan for the season.

 

Galactic

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In my opinion, we need leaders at the back. Someone who talks and inspires proactiveness. Our backline are too quiet, too passive. When things get down and we are under pressure, they all look at each other. Only Maguire talks a fair bit but he can’t do it alone. Even his leadership quality took a significant dip lately.

Any captain material out there?
 

Jibbs

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Not too sure about that (look at picture below). Although with Torres's height, he can improve it. Never watch Torres but based on YouTube alone, his ability on the ball reminds me of Laporte, really good indeed. I'm just not convinced with Upamecano. A centre back who relies on pace and only proven 1 season, had not convincing history on his injury record previous seasons with no international experience despite highly rated he is, feels like a Mangala vibes to me.

This is because in La liga you don't have as many aerial duels as in EPL. His style reminds me of Laporte and Pique. Two absolute best CBs to come out of La Liga apart from Ramos.
 

Jibbs

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Juventus have both Demiral and Rugani getting 5 league starts each so they are clearly overstocked with CBs. They might not have plans for this young man who has been on loan at Genoa. Aggressive, ball winning CB who started 28 league games unlike our aggressive ball winning CB Bailly. Comfortable on the ball, can be quick. Didnt contribute any goals though and his CB partner takes care of a few more of the balls in the air but he would be playing next to Maguire who is strong in the air. Perhaps with covid and Juventus' overstocking of CBs he might be available for around the same £24 million they paid for him last summer before sending him out on loan for the season.

I'd still check Juve's resolve with asking both De Ligt and Rabiot in straight swap with Pogba.
 

Scholsey2004

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Vertonghen going on a free. A left footed centre back, who can play left back. Experienced player, who is good on the ball, good aerially and is a leader. Only thing is, he's quite slow. Be a decent stop gap though whilst waiting for Tuanzebe to progress or keeping an eye out on a new centre back.
Vertonghen would make a lot of sense. We're looking at a window where we're after one very expensive player but conversely because of the economic situation we'll probably not want to go crazy. Right now we've got Maguire and Lindelof who are good enough and can be relied upon to be fit on a regular basis. Beyond that it's pretty iffy. Give him a year or two contract and it saves us some money in the short term. Played 30 games for spurs this season. I'm sure he'd like another bash in the champions League as well.
 

Mr Smith

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Vertonghen would make a lot of sense. We're looking at a window where we're after one very expensive player but conversely because of the economic situation we'll probably not want to go crazy. Right now we've got Maguire and Lindelof who are good enough and can be relied upon to be fit on a regular basis. Beyond that it's pretty iffy. Give him a year or two contract and it saves us some money in the short term. Played 30 games for spurs this season. I'm sure he'd like another bash in the champions League as well.
There is something to this. One if the things we really lack in defence is experience, and Vertonghen has that in spades. Would be a great one for our younger defenders to learn from.

On the other hand, his career trajectory is on the downward slide, and his experience may not be worth much if he doesn't perform on the pitch.

I also don't know if Ole really goes for this type of signing.
 

Freak

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Dont know anything about Torres, but I wonder who the other two centre backs are?
Probably that Gabriel dude from Lille and one of Konate/Upamecano.

To be honest I haven’t seen any of them play in an actual game except Ake but I do like Gabriel or Pau Torres just from their videos.

Whoever we get needs to be the right one though. We have too many duds in defence already.
 

Harry190

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Last year: 78 goals conceded in 53 games.
This year: 48 goals conceded in 58 games.

Transformative. Maguire has been a bargain at 80m. He may have individual weaknesses but his organizational and leadership at the back literally stopped 30 goals from going in this season. Still young too.
Anyway, a backup CB to replace jones/rojo would be good security.
Those stats can't be real. 78 goals?
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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Vertonghen would make a lot of sense. We're looking at a window where we're after one very expensive player but conversely because of the economic situation we'll probably not want to go crazy. Right now we've got Maguire and Lindelof who are good enough and can be relied upon to be fit on a regular basis. Beyond that it's pretty iffy. Give him a year or two contract and it saves us some money in the short term. Played 30 games for spurs this season. I'm sure he'd like another bash in the champions League as well.
I agree, mate. Think it'd prove to be an astute signing by Ole. Obviously not a signing that has been typical of Ole since his arrival, but I feel we need to add more leaders to our squad, and Vertonghen has that.
 

Revan

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The problem about Ake aerial duel is just his height. However, he has the aggressiveness to win header & also good when aiming it with his head. Ake scored 11 goals for 4 seasons in Bournemouth. That's more than Lindelof's entire career.

The problem of Lindelof aerial duel is that, despite of being much higher than Ake, Lindelof lacks toughness & strength to win header and very bad aiming the ball with his head. That warm up in the Mourinho's Sky Sport Pundit sums it up (look at picture below). Very often I see Lindelof missed the header or not clearing the ball outside the dangerous zone.

Don't know much about Torres's problem why he's just so poor in the air.
Regardless of what you think the problem with them is, Lindelof is far superior to Ake when it comes to aerial duels. That can be seen by just watching the matches, but if you prefer statistics:

Lindelof this season had a success rate of 65.75% from 146 aerial duels.
Ake has a success rate of 49.6% from 125 aerial duels.

So Lindelof has attempted 21 more duels, while having a significantly higher win rate.

For comparison, Maguire (one of the best at it) has a success rate of 71.26% from 247 duels.

Honestly, the difference between Lindelof and Ake, is as large as that between Maguire and Lindelof. Ake is poor in the air, no question there. With people here thinking that Lindelof is poor in the air (he isn't, but he also is not great at it), Ake is gonna get massacred as soon as the 'new signing is the best signing since Cantona' spell finishes.
 

Revan

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Last year: 78 goals conceded in 53 games.
This year: 48 goals conceded in 58 games.

Transformative. Maguire has been a bargain at 80m. He may have individual weaknesses but his organizational and leadership at the back literally stopped 30 goals from going in this season. Still young too.
Anyway, a backup CB to replace jones/rojo would be good security.
While this is true, it misses that last season we were underperforming under Mourinho. He was deliberately losing matches to prove his point to the board (like playing McTominay as CB while keeping CBs at bench).

If you consider only the league (because I don't have the stats for the other competitions, but would be happy to consider them if you have), in 16-17 we conceded 29 goals, in 17-18 we conceded 28 goals, while this season we conceded 30 goals (last season has no significance considering the Mourinho sabotage and then the chance in managers).

We actually are not better in defense than before. Now of course, there are other reasons too, De Gea went from God mode (especially in 17-18, when with an average keeper we would have conceded 35+ goals) to average mode. On the other hand, we also improved the wingbacks with AWB shutting down his part of the pitch, and Shaw playing more than often.

All in all, I think we might be a bit better in defense, but saying that is cause of Maguire alone and using last season stats to show that we improved for 30 goals is totally agenda-driven and has no real basis on reality. Last season, us being shit had nothing to do with the squad (heck, the defense was exactly the same as the season before that), and everything to do with Mourinho (and later Ole after his purple patch on the first 12 matches). Even if you consider the last season and ignore those events, it would be fairer to compare this season with a mean of the previous seasons (for example Mourinho's 3 seasons) in which case the defense improved from 37 goals to 30 goals, and then you have to include AWB as part of the improvement.
 

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What Cb out there is actually a significant upgrade on Lindelof or Maguire? I mean a CB that can transform our defense that is the third best in the country to number 1. We shouldn't spend 40m + on any CB that isn't likely to do that
People always forget the contribution that AWB and Shaw make to the defence. They are both solid defensively. That being said even though statistically it looks good I feel that we can definitely do better than the 2 cbs we have. Though we just bought maguire so doubt he will be going anywhere soon
 

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Regardless of what you think the problem with them is, Lindelof is far superior to Ake when it comes to aerial duels. That can be seen by just watching the matches, but if you prefer statistics:

Lindelof this season had a success rate of 65.75% from 146 aerial duels.
Ake has a success rate of 49.6% from 125 aerial duels.

So Lindelof has attempted 21 more duels, while having a significantly higher win rate.

For comparison, Maguire (one of the best at it) has a success rate of 71.26% from 247 duels.

Honestly, the difference between Lindelof and Ake, is as large as that between Maguire and Lindelof. Ake is poor in the air, no question there. With people here thinking that Lindelof is poor in the air (he isn't, but he also is not great at it), Ake is gonna get massacred as soon as the 'new signing is the best signing since Cantona' spell finishes.
You’re not reading mate! Even Jose Mourinho admitted Lindelof isn’t good in the air.