Man United could send Varane packing by signing £44m “top talent” who’s like Pique

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Although Manchester United’s attacking ranks have recently come under scrutiny due to a mere 22 goals from 20 Premier League games this season, it is equally reasonable to argue that the defence needs strengthening in 2024.

The Red Devils in particular appeared unsteady in the Champions League after giving up 15 goals in their six group-stage matches, which is the worst record of any English club in the competition’s history.

One prominent problem has been Erik ten Hag’s failure to establish a consistent center-back duo because of injuries; he was even compelled to use veteran summer signing Jonny Evans significantly more frequently than anticipated.

Not only have players like Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, and Harry Maguire had injuries or illnesses frequently, but since the three are in their thirties, finding a more long-term answer is imperative.

Varane’s contract is slated to expire this summer, while Lindelof’s has recently had his stay at Old Trafford extended. In the meantime, Varane is free to talk to international clubs about potentially signing a pre-contract arrangement.

Giorgio Scalvini, an Italian youngster, appears to be one of the candidates United is currently considering to replace the World Cup champion, as seen by the very ruthless decision not to give him an extension.

Man Utd’s Giorgio Scalvini transfer news

According to Spanish reports that surfaced last week, Ten Hag and company are hoping to beat Real Madrid to the young player’s signature, and the Red Devils are reportedly prepared to pay the €50 million (£44 million) required to activate the 20-year-old’s release clause.

As of late, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has stated that Scalvini is a “top talent” who might be a viable alternative to Jean-Clair Todibo, who is viewed as the Old Trafford side’s “main target” for the position, according to transfer expert Rudy Galetti.

The Spanish sources claim that United may try to sign the Atalanta star this month rather than waiting until the summer. This would be a huge help at a time when the Premier League’s biggest teams are struggling to finish outside the top four.

Giogio Scalvini’s approach to playing

The 6 foot 4 colossus, who has become a significant figure in Bergamo recently, has naturally drawn the attention of those at the Theatre of Dreams. Despite his relative youth, he has already been capped seven times by his country at the senior level.

Scalvini Giorgio
The rising star has already made 76 appearances for the first team, with four goals and three assists. His colleagues have taken notice of him swiftly, as evidenced by the latest comments made by former Arsenal player Sead Kolasinac:

“I’m amazed at how mature he seems at his age of 19. It’s good to have him beside you in defence because he reads the game effectively, knows what to do with the ball, defends one-on-one, and uses his body to mark.

“But first of all he is a good guy, even humble: if he doesn’t lose this character, he will have a great career.”

Additionally, talent scout Jacek Kulig claims that the tall asset resembles a previous United player named Gerard Pique, who was hailed as a “complete, elegant, and dominant center-back.”

After joining from Barcelona in 2004, Pique famously started his senior career under Sir Alex Ferguson. Four years later, he eventually made his way back to Camp Nou, where he became an important player during the La Liga team’s dazzling run of success.

Although the now-retired talent’s time with Manchester United didn’t work out, his exploits in Catalonia demonstrated the mistake that Ferguson and company had made in allowing him to elude them. As former colleague Carlos Puyol pointed out in 2018, he was once considered to be the “best center-back in the world.”

It’s exciting to think that United might be able to sign Scalvini, the World Cup-winning rock’s heir, and United should give this unconventional option serious thought.

How Varane and Scalvini compare

What distinguishes Scalvini from Pique, who Puyol called “complete control” on the pitch, is his poise and quality in possession, as evidenced by the fact that he is in the top 14% of players in his position in Europe’s top five leagues for progressive passes per 90.

As part of Atalanta’s favoured three-at-the-back formation, the Chiari native is frequently observed driving out from the back with the ball at his feet. He also ranks in the top 13% for successful take-ons per 90, which adds to his comfort level while playing out from the back.

This stands in stark contrast to Varane, the player he may replace. The 30-year-old ranks in just the top 28% and top 48%, respectively, for those same two criteria, suggesting that he is more of an old-school defender than a valuable player.

Premier League Raphael Varane
Though he also rates in the top 1% for interceptions, the top 8% for tackles, and the top 20% for aerial duels won per 90, Scalvini’s superior ball handling ability does not take away from his primary objective of keeping the ball out of the net.

Varane, on the other hand, is only in the top 41% for aerial duels won over the last 365 days, and he is in the bottom 9% for interceptions and the bottom 14% for tackles made. These statistics appear to indicate that the younger player is playing much better lately.

The Italian has been a significantly more consistent choice under Gian Piero Gasperini, starting 44 times since the start of the previous season, while the current United player has also shown unreliability due to his many absences from the field, having started just 29 league games since the start of 2022–2023.

Numbers-wise, Scalvini’s season (Serie A)

sixteen matches (15 starts)

One helper

81% passing percentage with accuracy

Four spotless sheets

Each game, 4.2 tackles and interceptions

Every game, 5.6 balls are recovered.

62% of the duels were won.

Average match rating: 7.08

through Sofascore

Even if Varane is a strong player, his incapacity to be relied upon for an extended length of time is a serious problem, and it seems prudent to let him leave.

It’s unclear if Scalvini will be the one to take his place, but the Pique-like talent seems to have the qualifications to prove a more than worthy substitute, if not an improvement.

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