Centre Backs In Need


Sir Alex Ferguson said:

 “...Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles...”

 Most of the time this is true. It's really the Manager that wins the games. He makes the team into his own, the players believe and will run through walls for him.

That is what makes a winning team. Of course you must also combine that will quality. Thus in the last of his championship successes in 2012-13 Manchester United had only the fifth-best rear-guard that season.

This makes my point. I was always of the view that the title winners that 2012-13 year was poor in quality across the team. It was the manager that pulled them through. The team needed a re-build, Ferguson knew that, and retired at the top. United have still not rebuilt the team.

The Time's reports that 'Today’s centre backs often have the most touches of any player on a team, given the new emphasis on building from the back. Last season Van Dijk had the most of any centre back in the top flight (3,624), with Manchester United’s Harry Maguire in second place (2,975).

Across Europe, the main title-winners have all relied upon the old guard, the likes of Sergio Ramos, Leonardo Bonucci, Jérôme Boateng and Thiago Silva. Juventus planned ahead by signing Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax last summer for £67.7 million and will view that as a sound investment despite the 20-year-old being criticised for inconsistencies in his debut season in Serie A.

“They need a centre back, a top centre back who can bring that level of domination to a defence like van Dijk does at Liverpool, like Vincent Kompany did when Manchester City were winning titles,” Gary Neville, the former United defender, said on Sky Sports.

“I don’t think Harry Maguire hasn’t had a good season, I just think he needs a partner. That’s not being unfair on Lindelof, who may need a partner as well. He and Maguire are both good defenders, but United need a centre back. You’ve got to be ruthless. The best managers in the world are ruthless.”

Who would have thought, centre backs being so popular, but also expensive.



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