According to reports out of Germany, Manchester United are targeting Borussia Dortmund‘s 26-year-old defender Manuel Akanji in a deal that could be up to 30 million Euros. The Swiss defender has 16 months left on his contract with Dortmund, so United and Ralf Rangnick want to take advantage and sign him up.
Akanji joined BVB from Basel in January 2018 and despite initial struggles, he has matured into a fine defender. He is currently Dortmund‘s only reliable figure in defense with Mat Hummels wilting and Dan-Axel Zagadou still culpable of amateur mistakes. Loan signing Marin Pongracic has barely featured in Marco Rose‘s plans. Manuel Akanji has won 62% of his aerial duels in the Bundesliga and a remarkable 72% of his ground duels. He is also an excellent progresser of the ball in his position. Akanji makes 3.94 progressive passes per 90 minutes which put him in the 85th percentile. He also carries the ball forward 4.86 times per 90, putting him in the 89 percentile.
Despite his convincing personal statistics, Dortmund have been shambolic defensively throughout this current campaign. BVB have conceded amateurish goals this season. They have only kept two clean sheets in the Bundesliga so far. In Europe, they were dumped out of the UEFA Champions League and crashed into the Europa League. Yesterday, they were booted out of Europa by Rangers. The Scottish team defeated them 6-4 on aggregate. The space between their lines is outrageous, their lack of a defensive midfielder is ponderous, and defensively they are so disorganized. Their defense (or defending in general) is the main reason they have not been able to put up more of a challenge against Bayern Munich this season. They have signed Niklas Sule to remedy things, and rumor has it that they are eyeing another central defender.
Manchester United have Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Victor Lindelof on their books at the moment but one of the latter three may leave in the summer. Lindelof has had to share minutes with Varane this season while Bailly has been on the fringes of things. Phil Jones also wants to leave despite turning down a move to Bordeaux in January. It doesn’t help that Maguire has not been his best this season. More quality in their defensive area will not go amiss for them. Although United should prioritize signing a defensive midfielder first before moving for Akanji.