The left-back market…

criticalanalysis

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This might be a hot take, but I don't think Carvajal is all that defensively. He was very much protected by peak Modric/Casemiro, who could ultimate engines that would cover for Carvajal. nowadays he is covered by engines like Tchouameni, Bellingham and Rodrygo (who surprisingly works super hard) so he's rarely exposed.

Alves, Alba and Marcelo do not belong in the same line of quality as Walker. Walker could legitimately be a top class defender on his own merits even without his attacking abilities, such is his physicality. Walker can also play CB due to those qualities. Alves and Alba cannot.

Hakimi is hard to tell because he plays in such a dominant team in their respective leagues.
Yeah that's fine, I didn't really put that much thought on it and agree on Walker as an individual defender. My feeling is that the 1s and 2s are generally good enough to be able to work on their own and of course in the systems they play without needing too much 'cover' in their orthodox roles. The point was more on where does Frimpong belong potentially on this list. You may not rate Carvajal but if left exposed, I think he does a serviceable job as a RB with his defensive nous. Do you think Frimpong offers the same 'stability' there defensively? I fear that he's closer to Cancelo/Alexander Arnold and I don't mean the really bad version of them but the 'not quite good enough' to ignore parts. City and now it seems Barca are looking to move Cancelo on and Liverpool may have to rethink how they can manage Alexander Arnold's role.

Alves and Alba were not shabby defensively but obviously played in elite teams. Hakimi is a pure physical specimen (height and speed) and again I think is quite serviceable.

Frimpong doesn't have the height/size, perhaps not the defensive nous and again perhaps won't be playing in as dominant teams as the ones play in above. Of course I may be overthinking it but I think the questions asked are more legit compared to the majority of your original list of full backs.
 
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Bwuk

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Maatsen not getting picked for the Euros makes him an even better shout. Can come and integrate with the squad earlier.
 

Flykicking by B Gunn

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What about Leif Davis from Ipswich? 18 assists in the championship.
I have seen on here speculation on Lief Davis's contract.
He earnt 10k/week in League 1.
15k in the championship and no doubt is on a lot more now.
His assists come from a lot of forward play which inevitably means that holes are left behind him. However he is also a dead ball taker especially all corners. He must cover a fabulous distance each match. A whole hearted player that has been given his chance to make a big impact and has taken it with both hands.
 

lex talionis

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The moment United inquire into a footballer, the market price for that player triples.
 

didz

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Thought he was quite good vs us - I think he played as LW that day though. Good offensively. Don’t have a clue how he is when we don’t have the ball.
He's been awful every time I've seen him, bar the two games against us. I know he's young, but if Bournemouth want a king's ransom for him they're cracked.
 

Ish

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I like the names being thrown around: Robinson, Kerkez, Leif Davis, Doughty etc. - young, athletic, technically good and can really push Shaw/even start if he’s injured. Obviously no idea who the club will end up going after and which selling club will make it “easy” for us and be reasonable (Luton seems the obviously choice but Doughty I think also played LWB for them, didn’t he?).

Don’t think Fulham, Bournemouth or even Ipswich will put a reasonable price on them. They probably don’t need to sell and unless there’s any release clauses involved…
 

Munkehboi

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I have seen on here speculation on Lief Davis's contract.
He earnt 10k/week in League 1.
15k in the championship and no doubt is on a lot more now.
His assists come from a lot of forward play which inevitably means that holes are left behind him. However he is also a dead ball taker especially all corners. He must cover a fabulous distance each match. A whole hearted player that has been given his chance to make a big impact and has taken it with both hands.
Very much so. Leif Davis only works because Ipswich play the double pivot where the left side of that midfield fills in for him when he gets forward and Ipswich loses the ball. If we play one CDM then I think we will be vulnerable on that left side. He is also Ipswich dead ball taker and they have scored a lot of goals from set pieces this season. Will he our dedicated corner taker for us?
 

Baneofthegame

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Very much so. Leif Davis only works because Ipswich play the double pivot where the left side of that midfield fills in for him when he gets forward and Ipswich loses the ball. If we play one CDM then I think we will be vulnerable on that left side. He is also Ipswich dead ball taker and they have scored a lot of goals from set pieces this season. Will he our dedicated corner taker for us?
Shaw takes corners for us, so I don’t see why he couldn’t take our set pieces.
 

aeh1991

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We should get Bradley Locko (22). He was an influential player for Stade Brest who just had a standout season (3rd), got selected to the Ligue Un team of the season, brings everything you want from a modern LB and most importantly would be available for around €20m (£16m). Considering our financial situation this makes too much sense. He's already on the list of various EPL teams and I can already see people saying "who's this LB and why didn't we sign him?" when he moves there.
 

Crimson King

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Kieran Tierney reportedly available for £15 million. Bargain.
Was never good enough anyway. The fact people used to say he was better than Shaw always seemed absurd to me. The only thing they have in common is how much time they spend in the treatment room.
 

Rozay

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I think I’d rather push any fullback additions to next year unless one of ours leaves. What I want above all is for us to get the right players. No short-term budget influenced deals that we know are a class below what we really want. So I don’t want situations of ‘no Neves because we still need a LB, RB, GB, AD, PM’ or whatever. The positions that we DO decide to buy long-term players for, let them be the very best.

We had a terrible season with left-backs last year, but last season was last season. We can’t retrospectively sign a LB to cover the games they missed when they were injured, those games have gone and these guys are fit now. So we have two left-backs, and we also have Amass coming through with huge promise. Hopefully he gets games this year and by next summer, he can be the Kerkez himself rather than just wasting 25m on him.
 

aeh1991

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I think I’d rather push any fullback additions to next year unless one of ours leaves. What I want above all is for us to get the right players. No short-term budget influenced deals that we know are a class below what we really want. So I don’t want situations of ‘no Neves because we still need a LB, RB, GB, AD, PM’ or whatever. The positions that we DO decide to buy long-term players for, let them be the very best.

We had a terrible season with left-backs last year, but last season was last season. We can’t retrospectively sign a LB to cover the games they missed when they were injured, those games have gone and these guys are fit now. So we have two left-backs, and we also have Amass coming through with huge promise. Hopefully he gets games this year and by next summer, he can be the Kerkez himself rather than just wasting 25m on him.
Very risky way of thinking. One injury to Shaw (which is very possible) and we are fecked again. Can't trust Malacia to get fit either. Amass could become an option but we don't know it yet. He's really young. LB is a priority, even if it's just another loan like Reguilon.
 

didz

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Theo Hernandez has 2 years left at Milan…
Mentioned him as my pie in the sky signing a few weeks ago. Bayern are strongly linked with him but I dunno if that's contract noise as he seems to love it in Milan.

Having just spent practically an entire season without a left back, I'd be looking at that position first. But it looks like the club are prioritising a CB, striker, and midfielder, then seeing what kind of fullback we can get from the change.
 

Rozay

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Very risky way of thinking. One injury to Shaw (which is very possible) and we are fecked again. Can't trust Malacia to get fit either. Amass could become an option but we don't know it yet. He's really young. LB is a priority, even if it's just another loan like Reguilon.
Why can’t you trust Malacia to get fit?

One injury to Shaw, then we have to play the second choice. And if HE gets injured (while Shaw is ALSO injured), then we have to play Amass, at least until at least ONE of the TWO senior left backs return. And that’s even if we don’t decide to just play Dalot at LB, unless of course - Wan-Bissaka also happens to be injured at the SAME time as Shaw and Malacia. And only then do we really have to play Amass, and that will only be until one of the them returns.

It’s all very possible, and of course happened last season in an unusually unlucky spell of injuries, but I don’t think you need to spend in order to cover that sort of eventuality. If it happens again, you know that you are terrible unlucky.

I’d much rather sell players we don’t trust rather than just keep stacking bodies on top of them. I’d have no issue selling Shaw or Malacia on the basis that we don’t trust them, but while they are here and not injured, then they are here and not injured.

And forgive my capitalisation, would have made a lot more sense if I were just talking to you!
 

Acrobat7

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Mentioned him as my pie in the sky signing a few weeks ago. Bayern are strongly linked with him but I dunno if that's contract noise as he seems to love it in Milan.
I somewhat expect Bayern to go for Theo if they manage to sell Davies. If Davies extends his contrct then I see Real going for Theo.
 

JohnnyLaw

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I think I’d rather push any fullback additions to next year unless one of ours leaves. What I want above all is for us to get the right players. No short-term budget influenced deals that we know are a class below what we really want. So I don’t want situations of ‘no Neves because we still need a LB, RB, GB, AD, PM’ or whatever. The positions that we DO decide to buy long-term players for, let them be the very best.

We had a terrible season with left-backs last year, but last season was last season. We can’t retrospectively sign a LB to cover the games they missed when they were injured, those games have gone and these guys are fit now. So we have two left-backs, and we also have Amass coming through with huge promise. Hopefully he gets games this year and by next summer, he can be the Kerkez himself rather than just wasting 25m on him.
I’d probably look for a player who can combine LCB and LB duties. If we were to try and fill every demand we have in one window we’d need to sign something like 7 players which isn’t going to be possible.

I’d look at profiles like Branthwaithe, Lucumi, Hancko, Pavlovic.
 

ForeverRed1

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Theo Hernandez ac Milan.

2 years left on contract.
refused to sign new contract/extend.
Bayern looking at him for around 60mil euros.

him and shaw would give us the best left back options, baring in mind we can use shaw as a centre back too. Would give us a whole knee strength and depth and rashford would thrive with Hernandez behind him.

Hernandez and Martinez on that side would be fireeeere.
 

Brightonian

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Why can’t you trust Malacia to get fit?

One injury to Shaw, then we have to play the second choice. And if HE gets injured (while Shaw is ALSO injured), then we have to play Amass, at least until at least ONE of the TWO senior left backs return. And that’s even if we don’t decide to just play Dalot at LB, unless of course - Wan-Bissaka also happens to be injured at the SAME time as Shaw and Malacia. And only then do we really have to play Amass, and that will only be until one of the them returns.

It’s all very possible, and of course happened last season in an unusually unlucky spell of injuries, but I don’t think you need to spend in order to cover that sort of eventuality. If it happens again, you know that you are terrible unlucky.

I’d much rather sell players we don’t trust rather than just keep stacking bodies on top of them. I’d have no issue selling Shaw or Malacia on the basis that we don’t trust them, but while they are here and not injured, then they are here and not injured.

And forgive my capitalisation, would have made a lot more sense if I were just talking to you!
This all seems eminently sensible.

My only slight caveat would be, taking Malacia as an example: What if there is some kind of issue there which makes us think he's not reliably going to be fit next season, or will be an injury risk. Clearly we can't actually sell him this summer. No-one in their right mind would take him, even on a free, after an entire season out with a mystery problem. But we would still need to view him as in the out-tray and try and buy someone else in.
 

Rozay

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This all seems eminently sensible.

My only slight caveat would be, taking Malacia as an example: What if there is some kind of issue there which makes us think he's not reliably going to be fit next season, or will be an injury risk. Clearly we can't actually sell him this summer. No-one in their right mind would take him, even on a free, after an entire season out with a mystery problem. But we would still need to view him as in the out-tray and try and buy someone else in.
That’s a big caveat though. And of course, IF that is the case, then that is the case and we would then obviously not have 2 senior left-backs in practice, we’d only have one.

However, footballers are almost never recovering from an injury for two years, and it’s unlikely Malacia is. If that’s the case, then he’d have to start looking at possible retirement, but nothing to suggest that all that isn’t a tad dramatic at this stage. As it stands, he’s missed a season injured, as have many other football players, and I think we should expect that he does a pre-season and recovers until we hear otherwise I think.

I would like to think that Shaw, Malacia, with a bit of Amass and in a super-emergency - a bit of Dalot should see us through another season. Preferably more of Shaw than anything else of course.

I think if anything, I think I agree with the idea of a LCB who can also cover at LB in an emergency. This way, our primary needs are not compromised due to this LB crisis eventuality, and we can just sign the LCB that we needed to sign anyway.
 
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devilish

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Why can’t you trust Malacia to get fit?

One injury to Shaw, then we have to play the second choice. And if HE gets injured (while Shaw is ALSO injured), then we have to play Amass, at least until at least ONE of the TWO senior left backs return. And that’s even if we don’t decide to just play Dalot at LB, unless of course - Wan-Bissaka also happens to be injured at the SAME time as Shaw and Malacia. And only then do we really have to play Amass, and that will only be until one of the them returns.

It’s all very possible, and of course happened last season in an unusually unlucky spell of injuries, but I don’t think you need to spend in order to cover that sort of eventuality. If it happens again, you know that you are terrible unlucky.

I’d much rather sell players we don’t trust rather than just keep stacking bodies on top of them. I’d have no issue selling Shaw or Malacia on the basis that we don’t trust them, but while they are here and not injured, then they are here and not injured.

And forgive my capitalisation, would have made a lot more sense if I were just talking to you!
Shaw had always been injury prone and things will probably get worse the older he gets. Meanwhile Malacia is squad player at best and had missed 52 games last season. We can't afford spending another season without a first team LB.
 

Rozay

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Shaw had always been injury prone and things will probably get worse the older he gets. Meanwhile Malacia is squad player at best and had missed 52 games last season. We can't afford spending another season without a first team LB.
Indeed, Malacia is a squad player, and should only play in rotation or when Shaw gets injured. Malacia himself was injured last season, which cost us. However, last season’s games have gone, and players who were injured last season are not injured now, just as players who were fit last season may be injured next season.

I think there’s a temptation to go and buy injury cover after the fact here. The games have gone. Two senior LBs and one prospect is enough, especially when you add a dual flank fullback like Dalot to the equation too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to sell one, but continually buying players in the same position in case they all get injured seems an unwise strategy to me.
 

cj_sparky

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Shaw's missed 55 matches in the last 3 seasons, Malacia missed all 52 matches last season and if you look further back Shaw has missed 130 odd matches in the last 7 season.

So we do need a left back option, simply as Shaw will always miss matches and Malacia's absence has made people forget how bang average he is.
 

tidraKS

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Theo Hernandez ac Milan.

2 years left on contract.
refused to sign new contract/extend.
Bayern looking at him for around 60mil euros.

him and shaw would give us the best left back options, baring in mind we can use shaw as a centre back too. Would give us a whole knee strength and depth and rashford would thrive with Hernandez behind him.

Hernandez and Martinez on that side would be fireeeere.
This. I think he's very good, and Milan is a selling club, so a 50 million pound offer should do the job.
 

aeh1991

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Indeed, Malacia is a squad player, and should only play in rotation or when Shaw gets injured. Malacia himself was injured last season, which cost us. However, last season’s games have gone, and players who were injured last season are not injured now, just as players who were fit last season may be injured next season.

I think there’s a temptation to go and buy injury cover after the fact here. The games have gone. Two senior LBs and one prospect is enough, especially when you add a dual flank fullback like Dalot to the equation too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to sell one, but continually buying players in the same position in case they all get injured seems an unwise strategy to me.
Fortunately the board seems to agree that we need a LB.
 

Rozay

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Shaw's missed 55 matches in the last 3 seasons, Malacia missed all 52 matches last season and if you look further back Shaw has missed 130 odd matches in the last 7 season.

So we do need a left back option, simply as Shaw will always miss matches and Malacia's absence has made people forget how bang average he is.
By that summary, Malacia simply needs to be sold. Which I agree, he’s not very good.
 

cj_sparky

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By that summary, Malacia simply needs to be sold. Which I agree, he’s not very good.
The only positive I felt he had, was a bit of tenacity. Overall he is seriously lacking in many aspects in both defensive and attacking areas.

Will we sell him, cannot really see it as it is a risk for anyone else to take him on. Maybe a loan move to give him a chance to regain fitness/confidence and improve his value.
 

Rozay

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The only positive I felt he had, was a bit of tenacity. Overall he is seriously lacking in many aspects in both defensive and attacking areas.

Will we sell him, cannot really see it as it is a risk for anyone else to take him on. Maybe a loan move to give him a chance to regain fitness/confidence and improve his value.
A loan, probably back to the Eredivise, would make sense if we are to bring in a new LB. He’s a poor LB and from memory did not make one single positive contribution in the opponent’s half in an entire season.

Still, I’d be cool with him just being a presence next season to allow us some room to have a look at Amass, who I do believe in and think could be next up from our production line.
 

devilish

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Indeed, Malacia is a squad player, and should only play in rotation or when Shaw gets injured. Malacia himself was injured last season, which cost us. However, last season’s games have gone, and players who were injured last season are not injured now, just as players who were fit last season may be injured next season.

I think there’s a temptation to go and buy injury cover after the fact here. The games have gone. Two senior LBs and one prospect is enough, especially when you add a dual flank fullback like Dalot to the equation too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to sell one, but continually buying players in the same position in case they all get injured seems an unwise strategy to me.

Consistency is key behind any solid defense which in turn is key to success. Think about AC Milan star studded defense (Tassotti-Costacurta-Baresi-Maldini), United's treble defense (Gaz-Stam-Johnsen-Irwin) or the third CL winner (Wes-Rio-Vidic-Evra). We knew what the defense lineup was. That's a problem with Shaw. He was always an injury prone player and I can see things getting worse the older he gets. On top of that, Shaw is on 150k a week. We can't keep a squad player on that salary especially since he is hardly reliable (due to injuries not talent). Thus a first teamer is indeed needed.

Malacia is a squad player at best and that assuming he returns from injury the player he once was. Amass on the other hand needs a year of regular football something United can't provide.

The risk of a repeat of next season is real and something that United can't afford.

In my opinion we should buy a first team LB and loan Amass till January. I understand that the budget is tight but that's exactly were scouts/recruitment team need to come in and shine. If by some miracle Malacia and Shaw remain fit then we can extend Amass loan which in turn should provide us with a good squad player for next season. Irrespective of Shaw's form by the end of the season he simply need to be phased out. Someone on that salary needs to be available on a regular basis something a then 30 year old Shaw can't provide.
 

Blood Mage

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A fully fit Shaw would be better than everyone except Theo Hernandez and Grimaldo really, it's frustrating. We can't live in hope that he'll stay fit anymore though.
 

Rozay

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Consistency is key behind any solid defense which in turn is key to success. Think about AC Milan star studded defense (Tassotti-Costacurta-Baresi-Maldini), United's treble defense (Gaz-Stam-Johnsen-Irwin) or the third CL winner (Wes-Rio-Vidic-Evra). We knew what the defense lineup was. That's a problem with Shaw. He was always an injury prone player and I can see things getting worse the older he gets. On top of that, Shaw is on 150k a week. We can't keep a squad player on that salary especially since he is hardly reliable (due to injuries not talent). Thus a first teamer is indeed needed.

Malacia is a squad player at best and that assuming he returns from injury the player he once was. Amass on the other hand needs a year of regular football something United can't provide.

The risk of a repeat of next season is real and something that United can't afford.

In my opinion we should buy a first team LB and loan Amass till January. I understand that the budget is tight but that's exactly were scouts/recruitment team need to come in and shine. If by some miracle Malacia and Shaw remain fit then we can extend Amass loan which in turn should provide us with a good squad player for next season. Irrespective of Shaw's form by the end of the season he simply need to be phased out. Someone on that salary needs to be available on a regular basis something a then 30 year old Shaw can't provide.
I’m not mad at this summary at all.