As you’ve probably already heard, Manchester United are prepared to splash a monstrous £200 million war chest in the transfer market this summer to ensure that they’re ‘in it to win it’ come August. Not surprisingly, there’s already a considerable amount of players who have been linked with a move to Old Trafford over the past couple of weeks, with Mandzukic, Gaitan and Lloris being the latest in most newspaper publications.
While some of them seem fairly believable, others are just terribly far-fetched. One thing is for sure though: for United, anything is possible in the transfer market. With their financial might, United can pretty much capture anybody they want. Need proof? Nobody saw Falcao or Di Maria coming to United, Nobody! Even though they didn’t perform as expected, it was a sign that Ed Woodward and co. were prepared to do anything to get the club firing on all cylinders.
One prospect that I have kept a keen eye on amidst all the rumors is Nicolas Otamendi. The highly rated Argentine center back has been a revelation in defence for his club, Valencia, and was recently rated as the best defender in La Liga. He also scooped a phenomenal 6 MOTM awards on WhoScored!, a mean feat for a center back. He’s been impressive all season long and after we break down his stats and game in a minute, you’ll see why the title of this post is justified:
He’s the best center back in United’s current target pool
As stated above, Otamendi has been a brick wall in defence. He’s quite a strong tackler, reads the game well, breaks down attacking play brilliantly and wins most of his aerial duels both in attack and defence. I also noticed that he’s got brilliant passing accuracy, especially with long balls. Using Squakwa’s trusty “Comparison Matrix“, I put him up against another United target, Mats Hummels and honestly the results weren’t very surprising to me:
Notice that Otamendi has a better interception ,block and clearance ratio per game than Hummels. Of course we have to put into account the fact that Hummels has played 11 less games than Otamendi, but I still believe he is the better of the two, given how consistent he’s been over the season.
I know for a fact that some of you will hit me with the classic ‘they don’t play in the same league’ excuse. First of all, that doesn’t matter; If you’re a good player, then it doesn’t matter what league you play in but just to shut you up, let’s take another La Liga defender who has been heavily linked with United. I’m talking about Rafael Varane. Heck, I’ll even throw in Marquinhos, for variety’s sake:
As you can see, it makes no difference; he’s still a cut above them. He would make a brilliant addition to the United back four, and if signed would be interesting to see how well he partners with Chris Smalling or Phil Jones at the heart of the defence.
He scores goals
Aside from being a beast in defence, the lad has also got goals in him. Otamendi bagged 6 goals in the recently concluded La Liga season, mostly from set-pieces. That’s one more than John Terry managed in the EPL. Not bad at all, considering how lowly United’s strikers performed. He could chip in with a goal every now and then, which is always welcome. Goals win games, you know?
He’s tamed the best in the business
Being in La Liga, Otamendi inevitably has to deal with arguably some of the most potent and lethal strikers in the world right now. Last season alone, Otamendi faced Messi, Ronaldo, Benzema and Suarez, just to name a few. You don’t even have to be a football genius to know how difficult it is to man mark Messi or keep Ronaldo in check for a whole 90 minutes. We all saw what the little Argentine magician did to Boateng the other day (God rest his soul). Otamendi, however, has managed to consistently mute Messi from time to time, and doing it quite efficiently.
As one randomly sampled Youtuber said, ‘Any guy who can stand up to Leo Messi and that too repeatedly is a defender worth his weight in gold.’ Otamendi has done that quite brilliantly, which further convinces me that he would be a success in the Premier League, and more so at United. Watch his masterclass against the best footballer in the world here:
BONUS: Fantastic Beard
Of course, the best bit about him: who can possibly ignore his majestic beard? As a defender, you must be capable of intimidating and dominating the enemy. Most choose to do this verbally, but not Otamendi; his beard is enough to put you off your game. Don’t mess with this fella:
There you go. Otamendi is there for the taking. Your call, United.
What do you think? Would Otamendi be a perfect signing for United? Let me know in the comment section below.