The left-back market…

Insanity

Most apt username 2015
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
5,067
Location
Location
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.
Getting a LB is as important as getting a top CB and CM, imo. I actually hoped that we would upgrade when Shaw's contract had an year left. However, in true United fashion we gave him a bumper long term contract, half of which he has spent on IR. Malacia is simply not good player and hopefully he would be moved on as soon as he gets fit. Shaw should be used as a back up for both LCB and LB. In fact, he should think about moving to LCB permanently if wants to prolong his career.
 

Grande

Full Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
6,666
Location
The Land of Do-What-You-Will
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.
There are some interesting conundrums with what you want.

Your general points are reasonable to me, still, there is room for so much doubt that maybe it affects the whole conclusion.

The base one is that - given a fit Shaw is better than what we can afford without sacrificing anotjer key position reinforcement - how sure can we be that Shaw will be injury prone in the future? Looking at your examples, you have both Ronny Johnsen and Wes Brown included, both players who had quite bad injury records before those particular seasons. If medical professionals specialized in football assess Shaw superclosely and find no reason why he shouldn’t be dependable going forward, do we know more than they do? If not, there is the question of who do you trust the most to do a good job: United’s new medical team under O’Driscoll, or the forming Recruitment team to find a Shaw replacement not dooming us to play half the season with Wout Weghorst and Sofyan Amrabat for lack of striker and midfield options? I’m on the fence about both, to be honest.

Similar question marks exist around Malacia, albeit more serious ones. I’m inclined to think it would suffice with an understudy to Shaw and competition to Malacia, unless the medical team deems it completely unnecessary.
 

devilish

Juventus fan who used to support United
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
62,211
Getting a LB is as important as getting a top CB and CM, imo. I actually hoped that we would upgrade when Shaw's contract had an year left. However, in true United fashion we gave him a bumper long term contract, half of which he has spent on IR. Malacia is simply not good player and hopefully he would be moved on as soon as he gets fit. Shaw should be used as a back up for both LCB and LB. In fact, he should think about moving to LCB permanently if wants to prolong his career.
Some people (including myself) were raised at a time when the no 1 focus was the transfer fee. Everything else paled in comparison to it. Unfortunately these days things are far more complex then that. First of all there's the player's salary to be taken into account. I was livid that we didn't sign Tosin only to be reminded that he signed for a staggering 160k a week which roughly translate to a €32,932,640 package excluding bonuses. That means that the 'bargain' signing I was championing so hard for turned out to be no bargain signing at all. Then there's agent fees to take in account as well. Its rumored that Zirkzee agent is asking for 12m in agent fees alone.

Shaw is a fabulous player but he's incredibly injury prone. That's in itself is a problem for two reasons. First of all age tend to make things worse. Secondly we can never have a consistent backline with Shaw into the team.

In theory Shaw could slip into a squad player role. I never liked injury prone squad players as they tend to break when you need them the most. However that would be possible up until one take salary into account

At 150k a week, Shaw is the second highest paid defender at the club after Maguire. Liverpool's Robinson is on 100k, Inter's Di Marco is on 124k while Theo Hernandes is on 97k. Sure the likes of Alphonso Davies are paid more. However its evident that at that salary, Shaw must be a regular first teamer, something that he is not and will probably never be again.
 

devilish

Juventus fan who used to support United
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
62,211
There are some interesting conundrums with what you want.

Your general points are reasonable to me, still, there is room for so much doubt that maybe it affects the whole conclusion.

The base one is that - given a fit Shaw is better than what we can afford without sacrificing anotjer key position reinforcement - how sure can we be that Shaw will be injury prone in the future? Looking at your examples, you have both Ronny Johnsen and Wes Brown included, both players who had quite bad injury records before those particular seasons. If medical professionals specialized in football assess Shaw superclosely and find no reason why he shouldn’t be dependable going forward, do we know more than they do? If not, there is the question of who do you trust the most to do a good job: United’s new medical team under O’Driscoll, or the forming Recruitment team to find a Shaw replacement not dooming us to play half the season with Wout Weghorst and Sofyan Amrabat for lack of striker and midfield options? I’m on the fence about both, to be honest.

Similar question marks exist around Malacia, albeit more serious ones. I’m inclined to think it would suffice with an understudy to Shaw and competition to Malacia, unless the medical team deems it completely unnecessary.
I am a big fan of Ronnie Johnsen. I actually met him this week during the 65 year anniversary of our club (there was Lou Macari and Jaap Stam as well) and he's a real gentleman. Ronnie was signed from Besiktas after a career spent in Norway. Johnsen was brilliant with us up until he started picking injuries. He never really recovered out of those and was let go once his contract expired. Wes was a child prodigy who was capable to totally annihilate Hasselbaink in his debut, Wes was very unlucky with injury. We were lucky to squeeze that one great season out of him which kind of support the narrative you're pushing at least more then Johnsen did.

Wes was said to be paid 50k a week which was even lower then that of OShea (80k). I can't find how much we paid Ronnie in terms of salary. However considering his CV (Norway and then Besiktas), the fact that Martin Edwards held the purse string back then + how ruthless United were at the day, then I suggest that he was paid peanuts.

Shaw on the other hand is on a staggering 150k a week which makes him the second highest paid defender we've got and ahead of the likes of Martinez. A player like that must produce the goods on a week in week out basis. I struggle to believe that he can especially at the wrong side of his 20s
 

Acrobat7

Full Member
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
5,896
Supports
Bayern Munich
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.
Theo is probably the best LB there is. No offense to United, but Theo is "already" 26 and I would expect, that he'd only go to a CL side.
 

aeh1991

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Apr 13, 2022
Messages
1,126
Theo is probably the best LB there is. No offense to United, but Theo is "already" 26 and I would expect, that he'd only go to a CL side.
Oh noo he is close to retirement! :rolleyes: (I agree with you second part though).
 

Grande

Full Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
6,666
Location
The Land of Do-What-You-Will
I am a big fan of Ronnie Johnsen. I actually met him this week during the 65 year anniversary of our club (there was Lou Macari and Jaap Stam as well) and he's a real gentleman. Ronnie was signed from Besiktas after a career spent in Norway. Johnsen was brilliant with us up until he started picking injuries. He never really recovered out of those and was let go once his contract expired. Wes was a child prodigy who was capable to totally annihilate Hasselbaink in his debut, Wes was very unlucky with injury. We were lucky to squeeze that one great season out of him which kind of support the narrative you're pushing at least more then Johnsen did.

Wes was said to be paid 50k a week which was even lower then that of OShea (80k). I can't find how much we paid Ronnie in terms of salary. However considering his CV (Norway and then Besiktas), the fact that Martin Edwards held the purse string back then + how ruthless United were at the day, then I suggest that he was paid peanuts.

Shaw on the other hand is on a staggering 150k a week which makes him the second highest paid defender we've got and ahead of the likes of Martinez. A player like that must produce the goods on a week in week out basis. I struggle to believe that he can especially at the wrong side of his 20s
You mention some of my favourite players for United there. I watched Jean Ronny Johnsen as a striker in Norwegian first division for Lyn (despicable club), and it was the best Norwegian coach in history, Egil ‘Drillo’ Olsen a.k.a. The Mad Professor, who played him in the NT before he had debuted in the top division, and early on declared that he should become a CB instead of a striker. Unfortunately for him he had quite a few niggling injuries already from the early days that slowed him in his development. He could have been one of the greats, unfortunately he only had one season where he reached 23+ league games since leaving Norway in 1995. I met him once too, lovely fellow.

As you point out, Shaw’s salary is too high not to be good enough for first choice, and the only question mark there is his health. It’s either stick with him and have decent back up, or let him go and splash on an immediate first choice. If our medical team deem him healthy, I’m inclined to go with that rather than trust our recruitment team to find first choice candidates for CB, CM, striker AND LB within this summer window and our budget limitations. If we had a proven recruitment set up, it might be more tempting to take some chances on purchases, but as is I’ll rather chance on O’Driscoll et al finally getting it right first.
 

ForeverRed1

Full Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
Messages
5,824
Location
England UK!
Theo is probably the best LB there is. No offense to United, but Theo is "already" 26 and I would expect, that he'd only go to a CL side.
This is true but I think it will come down to the INEOS project, it’s still a very attractive proposition for most players. Playing for United can offer a player many things and if INEOS sell the project well, with hunger and desire to wake this sleeping giant up we will still attract top players. Hernandez and shaw would possibly make us one of the strongest in that position in world football.
 

devilish

Juventus fan who used to support United
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
62,211
You mention some of my favourite players for United there. I watched Jean Ronny Johnsen as a striker in Norwegian first division for Lyn (despicable club), and it was the best Norwegian coach in history, Egil ‘Drillo’ Olsen a.k.a. The Mad Professor, who played him in the NT before he had debuted in the top division, and early on declared that he should become a CB instead of a striker. Unfortunately for him he had quite a few niggling injuries already from the early days that slowed him in his development. He could have been one of the greats, unfortunately he only had one season where he reached 23+ league games since leaving Norway in 1995. I met him once too, lovely fellow.

As you point out, Shaw’s salary is too high not to be good enough for first choice, and the only question mark there is his health. It’s either stick with him and have decent back up, or let him go and splash on an immediate first choice. If our medical team deem him healthy, I’m inclined to go with that rather than trust our recruitment team to find first choice candidates for CB, CM, striker AND LB within this summer window and our budget limitations. If we had a proven recruitment set up, it might be more tempting to take some chances on purchases, but as is I’ll rather chance on O’Driscoll et al finally getting it right first.
I followed many injury prone players in my life and I can't recall anyone being able to turn things around especially once they hit the late 20s. That's unimportant though. The guy has a contract till 2027 and is on 150k a week. He won't be leaving this summer that's for sure.

Which leads us to the LB position. If you ask me I would get a LB whose have the immediate potential to be first team material but who wouldn't be able to break the bank. I am referring to players in the ilk of Victor Kristiansen for example whose very talented and shouldn't cost us a bomb. That would allow us to

a- send Amass on loan so he'll get the first team experience he need to at least become squad player material
b- give Malacia and Shaw all the time they need to recover and play at their tempo. That should limit the chances of them getting injured and would allow us to showcase their skills.

Next summer we'll be in a better position to assess things up. I'd be very surprised if at least one between Shaw and Malacia won't be sold.
 

ThierryHenry14

Full Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
4,514
Supports
Arsenal
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.
Isn't Theo Hernandez going to Bayern as Davies replacement? Isn't Milan asking for €100 m? Any decent player these days are quoted this price.
 

Acrobat7

Full Member
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
5,896
Supports
Bayern Munich
Isn't Theo Hernandez going to Bayern as Davies replacement? Isn't Milan asking for €100 m? Any decent player these days are quoted this price.
Only if Bayern manages to sell Davies which currently doesn't seem likely.
 

Infra-red

Full Member
Joined
May 4, 2010
Messages
13,675
Location
left wing
Mittelstädt would be a good option (no idea what he'd cost) if we have doubts about Shaw's long-term fitness. Going into next season relying on a 29 year old Shaw and Malacia to stay fit, feels very much like an error, though.

If the budget doesn't stretch to a dedicated left back (as seems probable) then a CB who can deputise at LB when required, would be a sensible buy.
 

Acrobat7

Full Member
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
5,896
Supports
Bayern Munich
Mittelstädt would be a good option (no idea what he'd cost) if we have doubts about Shaw's long-term fitness. Going into next season relying on a 29 year old Shaw and Malacia to stay fit, feels very much like an error, though.

If the budget doesn't stretch to a dedicated left back (as seems probable) then a CB who can deputise at LB when required, would be a sensible buy.
Stuttgart bought him last summer for 500k so United will probably offer 60m.
 

ForeverRed1

Full Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
Messages
5,824
Location
England UK!
Isn't Theo Hernandez going to Bayern as Davies replacement? Isn't Milan asking for €100 m? Any decent player these days are quoted this price.
that’s probably what will happen yes but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It’s quoted 60mil euros as he’s got two years left and won’t sign extension. Openly wants new challenge.
 

DontBeMeanToBeRuud

New Member
Newbie
Joined
May 24, 2024
Messages
82
I think we got a chance with signing Davies if we go for him this season and he would want to join an europa league side for a season.

I don't think Real Madrid can afford him alongside Mbappe this season so going for him this season is realistically our only chance.

He is the ultimate statement signing for ineos & the best player we could sign for our squad this season be that a striker, midfielder, defender or goalkeeper.

I see more of a chance signing him than Theo.
 

stefan92

Full Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
7,410
Supports
Hannover 96
I think we got a chance with signing Davies if we go for him this season and he would want to join an europa league side for a season.

I don't think Real Madrid can afford him alongside Mbappe this season so going for him this season is realistically our only chance.

He is the ultimate statement signing for ineos & the best player we could sign for our squad this season be that a striker, midfielder, defender or goalkeeper.

I see more of a chance signing him than Theo.
When you think that a player who showed nothing impressive in the last two years would be your ultimate statement signing you will be disappointed.
 

Roonaldo90

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Jun 15, 2024
Messages
15
Where is young Malacia? I thought he always looked alright whenever he started a match.
 

DontBeMeanToBeRuud

New Member
Newbie
Joined
May 24, 2024
Messages
82
When you think that a player who showed nothing impressive in the last two years would be your ultimate statement signing you will be disappointed.
Oh i never knew he was shit.

Do you see him going to real madrid then if he was rubbish for two years?
 

stefan92

Full Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
7,410
Supports
Hannover 96
Oh i never knew he was shit.

Do you see him going to real madrid then if he was rubbish for two years?
The longer he continues on the current level the more likely it becomes that Real loses interest. I think at the moment they still consider him a good choice on a free but likely wouldn't want to pay a huge fee for him.

It's not that he's shit either, but he just didn't keep the impressive level of his breakout season.
 

Insanity

Most apt username 2015
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
5,067
Location
Location
Some people (including myself) were raised at a time when the no 1 focus was the transfer fee. Everything else paled in comparison to it. Unfortunately these days things are far more complex then that. First of all there's the player's salary to be taken into account. I was livid that we didn't sign Tosin only to be reminded that he signed for a staggering 160k a week which roughly translate to a €32,932,640 package excluding bonuses. That means that the 'bargain' signing I was championing so hard for turned out to be no bargain signing at all. Then there's agent fees to take in account as well. Its rumored that Zirkzee agent is asking for 12m in agent fees alone.

Shaw is a fabulous player but he's incredibly injury prone. That's in itself is a problem for two reasons. First of all age tend to make things worse. Secondly we can never have a consistent backline with Shaw into the team.

In theory Shaw could slip into a squad player role. I never liked injury prone squad players as they tend to break when you need them the most. However that would be possible up until one take salary into account

At 150k a week, Shaw is the second highest paid defender at the club after Maguire. Liverpool's Robinson is on 100k, Inter's Di Marco is on 124k while Theo Hernandes is on 97k. Sure the likes of Alphonso Davies are paid more. However its evident that at that salary, Shaw must be a regular first teamer, something that he is not and will probably never be again.
You are right, when it comes to the player cost the fee+signing bonus+the wages need to be considered. "Players on a free" are really never really free players. Players and agents take the risk of running down a contract to get a huge payday for themselves. Free players usually come with a huge sign-on fee and are likely to be on wages higher than normal. They take the risk so that the financial benefits go to them instead of their current selling club.

Anyway, I hate financial discussions on football forums. United fans laughed when we got Varane for 40m and Arsenal got Ben White for 50m, but when you consider the overall cost - wages + sell on fee - Ben White will end up costing much less to Arsenal than what Varane cost us. Also, I dread the day the word "Amortization" entered the football forum lexicon. Now 80% of the posters think that if we sell a homegrown player for 20m we can go ahead and buy players worth 100m, without taking into account all the other amortizations pending from purchases in the previous windows. Not to mention the actual payments that need to be made to different clubs for previous buys under the payment structures negotiated.

Coming back to Shaw, you are correct that we are in a conundrum with him. A player on such high wages shouldn't be a squad player. But the issue is that a player with his injury record can't also be relied upon to be a starter. Like I said before, at a well run club he would have been sold the last time his contract came up for renewal. We stupidly gave him a new contract. So, now we have a player whose form is inconsistent and whose injury record is iffy. However, if we want to become a serious team we need to bite the bullet on this one and get a new starter without worrying too much about Shaw's feelings. If he wants to stay and fight for his place then it's good. Otherwise, he can ask his agent to find him a new club. Like you have mentioned in your posts, to have a chance at a consistent defense, we have to buy a starter.
 

aeh1991

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Apr 13, 2022
Messages
1,126
that’s probably what will happen yes but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It’s quoted 60mil euros as he’s got two years left and won’t sign extension. Openly wants new challenge.
We should absolutely try. And if we have any chance, I'd sacrifice the signing of one CB.

even if we end up only with Theo, RCB, Joao Neves and backup CF that would be an amazing season. Use Shaw as LB/LCB backup, use Amad instead of buying Olise, keep Maguire as RCB backup. Theo and Neves would really upgrade our game.
 

Grande

Full Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
6,666
Location
The Land of Do-What-You-Will
I followed many injury prone players in my life and I can't recall anyone being able to turn things around especially once they hit the late 20s. That's unimportant though. The guy has a contract till 2027 and is on 150k a week. He won't be leaving this summer that's for sure.

Which leads us to the LB position. If you ask me I would get a LB whose have the immediate potential to be first team material but who wouldn't be able to break the bank. I am referring to players in the ilk of Victor Kristiansen for example whose very talented and shouldn't cost us a bomb. That would allow us to

a- send Amass on loan so he'll get the first team experience he need to at least become squad player material
b- give Malacia and Shaw all the time they need to recover and play at their tempo. That should limit the chances of them getting injured and would allow us to showcase their skills.

Next summer we'll be in a better position to assess things up. I'd be very surprised if at least one between Shaw and Malacia won't be sold.
The steps you suggest makes sense to me as well.
 

NoPace

Full Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2014
Messages
9,608
Kerkez watch, first half of Germany-Hungary, playing as a wingback in a 5:

Pros - Gets forwards well, clear ideas on what to do with his delivery. Marking Kimmich well. Mittelstadt on the other wing has had a lot of chances to hit crosses and Kimmich hasn't really had a sniff in that regard.
Cons - Might be more of the system than him, but there was a play when he tucked inside to play more like an LB/LCB, and a guy just ran behind him and he didn't seem to notice it even though it was clearly coming.
 

G-manc

Full Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
999
Bournemouth will want at least double what they paid for Kerkez a year ago. We aren’t spending upwards of £30m on a LB.

Let the scouts earn their money with a relative unknown for a good price.
 

1905

Full Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
399
Supports
Chelsea
Seems every tournament Germany have a new hipster LB that performs well only to be never seen again at club level
 

stefan92

Full Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
7,410
Supports
Hannover 96
Seems every tournament Germany have a new hipster LB that performs well only to be never seen again at club level
Actually this time we don't. We would if Nagelsmann had persisted with the experiment to field Havertz as LB which he did last year. And we had a lot of such makeshift LB over the years (we won the WC 2014 with Höwedes as LB, which he never played before or after)

But we are lucky that he decided "f*ck experiments" and just fields in form players in their current best positions (+Gündogan).

Mittelstädt's rise this season is a surprise, but at least he is a true LB used to play in a back four and not some tactical experiment there.
 

The Man With The Red Face

New Member
Newbie
Joined
May 20, 2024
Messages
8
It's got to be a reliable, mature, low-risk, first-choice LB at this stage. Antonee Robinson is a good fit.

Expecting Shaw to play 50 games for the first time in his career is beyond hopeful. He should have been sold years ago.

I see 3 possibilities for Malacia. His problems clearly aren't physical. In 12 months time he'll either look an ok footballer, he'll be in the Dutch second division or he'll have retired from football altogether.
 

aeh1991

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Apr 13, 2022
Messages
1,126
It's got to be a reliable, mature, low-risk, first-choice LB at this stage. Antonee Robinson is a good fit.

Expecting Shaw to play 50 games for the first time in his career is beyond hopeful. He should have been sold years ago.

I see 3 possibilities for Malacia. His problems clearly aren't physical. In 12 months time he'll either look an ok footballer, he'll be in the Dutch second division or he'll have retired from football altogether.
At his age (26) he should be an undisputed starter, but he is a midtable team level player and chances he makes a big step up are low. I'd rather sign a younger LB with potential (M.Gutierrez, B.Locko, L.Davis) or a top LB like Theo (although that's very unrealistic). I don't think Fulham will sell him to us for cheap either.