Manchester United’s defensive troubles have captured the heart of the issues at the club. The lack of a leader amongst their centre-backs was often missed due to David De Gea’s brilliance in front of the goal.
However, as their keeper kept faltering, those concerns became all the more reason to worry.
Jose Mourinho was adamant in trying to sign a world-class centre-back during his final days at the club. It turns out that the outfit came painstakingly close to signing a valuable player back then, but voluntarily backed out due to poor advice.
As per the Mirror, Manchester United was keen on signing Matthijs De Ligt last summer and the Dutch wonderkid was on United’s list of prospective centre-backs alongside the likes of Harry Maguire. In fact, the Ajax centre-back was allegedly Mourinho’s first-choice option for the spot.
However, the club’s leadership was advised against moving for the teenager. This came from their scout Marcel Bout, himself a Dutchman brought in by LVG. He had scouted De Ligt extensively and was the reason for the player coming across the side’s radar before he tasted extensive success.
However, Bout had informed the club that De Ligt, then 18, was overweight and that he would continue to gain weight in the future, neutralizing his pace and power. Interestingly, it is precisely those two factors that have made De Ligt a runaway success in Europe this season.
In a cruel turn of events, United have been heavy pursuers of the 19-year-old this season, only for the teenager to reportedly snub them. Claims suggested that De Ligt wanted to become the best defender in the world and felt that United wouldn’t help him in that pursuit and that the Red Devils no longer held the allure that they initially did.
This was despite the club offering him a fairly attractive deal that would have made him one of the highest-paid teenagers in the world.