Few would be surprised if Manchester United spent a huge amount of money on the signing of Mats Hummels this summer. He’s at the peak of his powers and may go some way to replacing the majestic, ball-playing talents of Rio Ferdinand.
But watching Manchester United play on Sunday made us question the wisdom of such a decision.
The signing of Hummels, who will will 27 in December, would almost certainly bring an end to the blossoming partnership of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. There may still be room for improvement with both but, after playing just 7 games together in the centre of defence this season, they have already made Manchester United much more solid at the back.
At 23 and 25 respectively, Jones and Smalling are a good old-fashioned English centre back pairing. Jones provides the warts and all ugly defending which John Terry has made his name from. And Smalling has the pace to cover when mistakes are made, plus the aerial ability to match any defender in the league.
LvG likes to develop youngsters and this partnership has legs. Adding Hummels would destroy it and what’s the point of that?
We think that Manchester United should offload Jonny Evans and bring in the superb Aymeric Laporte this summer. Laporte, who has long been linked with a move to United, already good enough to push for a place in the side but, at 20, he would be happier to bide his time while Jones and Smalling blossom. Indeed, with so many games to come next season Laporte could expect a lot of games and could probably cover in the full back positions too.
He’s a top quality player – a balletic bulldozer if you will – with genuine power, twinned with elegant ball control. We would be more excited to see him come in than Hummels and this would also give Manchester United’s English pair the chance to build on a really promising start together.
Let’s see Laporte in action. Manchester United fans: Does it make sense to break up the Smalling-Jones partnership right now?