Jose Mourinho’s teams are often known to have rigid, strong defensive bases. Mourinho strives on maintaining a good defensive shape in all situations; whether it is open play or even set-pieces. However, there were many occasions this season when the team completely lost its balance and shape while defending, and this resulted in an absolute chaos inside United’s penalty box. This has prompted the manager to look for some defensive recruitments in the transfer window.
Though the primary focus would be at fullbacks, central defenders might also get a look in. Accordingly, the latest report states that United might try to lure in Toby Alderweireld from Tottenham Hotspur. The Belgian has been unsettled at the club lately and was largely missing from this season due to injury issues. However, he does seem to be back in full fitness, and hence this move does make a bit of sense currently.
Toby Alderweireld: Best in the league?
When fit, there are no doubts over his talent and quality on the field. Alderweireld is an amalgamation of old-school and modern defenders, as he possesses all the abilities that one requires to excel at the heart of the defence.
Initially, Alderweireld is physically strong and can ward off forwards by his strength in defensive situations. That makes him a tough man to beat in aerial duels or set-pieces too. He times his jumps well and can bully strong forwards by using sheer strength too. More importantly, he reads the game well and thwarts off attacks with his astute positioning deep down in the field.
Tottenham play a pretty high pressing game, and hence the defenders have to push ahead and have to maintain a high defensive line too. However, this can leave them vulnerable when the opposition breaks on the counter. Still, Toby has the pace and the game awareness to track back and deal with the opposition’s forward during counter attacks.
He times his challenges accurately and wins the ball back with a combination of techniques. Toby can impose himself on the forward and can put in a well-timed last-ditch tackle too.
Like many modern defenders, Alderweireld is safe with possession of the ball and can regularly make those incisive passes from his own half. Spurs focus on building the play from the back, and Toby is an integral part of this system.
Should Jose make a move?
If available, then United should definitely fancy their chances in this transfer. Alderweireld has prior Premier League experience and would add a whole lot of experience and calmness to the current often-erratic United defence. He would undoubtedly be an upgrade from Chris Smalling and will bring in a set of attributes that can help the team be safer while defending. He is in the prime of his career right now, and Jose should ensure that this transfer takes place.