It’s looking increasingly likley that Manchester United will be in the market for a new right-back this summer, and reports this week suggest that Erik ten Hag already has one exciting player in mind
Reports surfaced this week suggesting that Erik ten Hag is interested in bringing Inter Milan’s Denzel Dumfries to Manchester United this summer.
United are expected to explore options in the right-back position, with neither Aaron Wan-Bissaka nor Diogo Dalot staking a strong enough case to make the position their own in recent seasons.
Dalot looks unlikely to be offered an extension on his current deal which is set to expire next season, while Wan-Bissaka looks like he could become an expensive write-off.
Wing-backs play a key role in Ten Hag’s system, and the Dutchman will be more than aware of what Dumfries could bring having come up against him several times when the 26-year-old was at PSV.
It was in the Eredivisie where Dumfries really rose to prominence, notably making the division’s Team of the Season in the 2018-19 campaign alongside talents like Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong.
After three successful years at PSV in which he recorded a standout 16 goals and 20 assists, Inter came in and fought off stiff competition to sign him last summer for just £15million.
In Italy, Dumfries has continued in the same vein of form, quickly becoming an integral player and notching up a solid five goals plus a further seven assists.
As a profile, he’s big, strong but also extremely quick, something that aids him in driving up and down the wing for his team. He also boasts excellent technical ability, able to dribble himself out of tight areas or past opponents to get into good crossing positions.
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His attacking influence is often a crucial creative asset for his side, as captured by his average of 2.5 shot-creating actions per 90. For comparison, Wan-Bissaka has averaged just 1.5 per 90 at United this season.
It’s important to note though that beyond being a good attacker, Dumfries is also a robust and dependable defender. He possesses success rates of in and around 60 per cent for duels both in the air and on the floor this season.
Wan-Bissaka’s perceived biggest strength is his defensive capabilities, and sure enough, he does have a defensive duel success rate similar to Dumfries, however he’s far less imposing in the air, winning just 46 per cent of his aerial duels this season.
It remains to be seen whether Inter would be open to selling a key player that they only signed 12 months ago.
Yet perhaps the lure of a quick profit could be decisive in persuading them. This could mean United may have to pay upwards of £25million to land Dumfries, which given his age, 26, and potential ceiling wouldn’t be a bad piece of business at all.