In July 2002 Manchester United spent an eye-bulging £30m and change on a young Rio Ferdinand in what was to be the start of the most successful period in the club’s history. Jaap Stam had departed the club and United had spent a year fumbling around the bargain basements for players like Laurent Blanc.
Then Rio arrived and the rest is history. While other top players came and went, with the more typical 3-4 year life span at Manchester United, Rio became the axis around which at least two great teams were built. And his importance to that golden era can not be overstated. He was very much as important as Wayne Rooney to United’s success.
Ferdinand was not only a lightning quick, utterly natural defender. He also had the sort of ball control that would make many a striker blush. He rarely ceded the ball and his distribution was key to Manchester United’s long-term success. Simply put, Rio was the best defender that we at soccersweep have ever seen.
Fast forward 13 years and the same problem has reared it’s head again. Manchester United are all over the shop at the back. Ideally they would sign someone who could play at the top level for a decade. And reports suggest that Manchester United may make a bid for just that man. ESPN reports:
Sources: Man United to push again for Mats Hummels, Aymeric Laporte
United are also aware that (Aymeric) Laporte wants to join them, but are right now reluctant to actually meet his buy-out clause. As has become somewhat typical of Old Trafford negotiations, there is some hope that the player’s willingness to move may allow leeway as regards the price, but Athletic are one club who have been totally unmoving on this in the past.
Both of these guys would be excellent additions. But while Hummels would be the obvious choice for the immediate problem, we would love to see United go for Laporte. At just 20 he is already built like a wardrobe. But he is such a lovely footballer to watch because he makes the game look so easy with his wonderful technique.
Like Rio, he keeps it simple but very rarely puts a foot out of place. And, like Rio, he can spot and execute a 60 yard pass as if he was playing as a number 7. He’s commanding and physical but extremely skilful.
We rate Laporte very highly. If Manchester United don’t strike now the opportunity may soon be gone for good as other giants will surely swoop. And Laporte can be the bedrock of the next great United vintage.
Let’s see him in action