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After seven years and 15 windows, Ed Woodward has managed to build a Manchester United defence that has conceded more goals than every Premier League team other than West Brom.
Three games into Woodward’s eighth season in charge, United have already allowed 11 goals, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defence coming in for particular criticism.
And it’s not like the defence that shipped six goals against Tottenham was one cheaply assembled.
In fact, the one that lined up vs Spurs had been bought for almost £200m over the course of five years.
With that in mind, Star Sport have taken a look at all of the defensive signings made under Woodward’s watch and how they’ve panned out.
Scores are out of ten….
Luke Shaw – 2014 (£27m) 7
Considering the turnover at Old Trafford since 2013, to last six-years as a starter is something to be commended.
Injuries have hampered his progress at times, but when he’s had an extended run, he’s looked the player that burst onto the scene with Southampton.
In 2018/19 he picked up the club’s player of the year and looks like he could have finally put his injury woes behind him.
With the arrival of Alex Telles, his long stint at left-back could come to an end, but this signing was a relative hit in comparison to others.
Marcos Rojo – 2014 (£16m) 4
In fairness, his time in English football has been ravaged by injuries, but even when he has been fit he just hasn’t looked like a player you build a title winning defence around. Or a top-half one at times.
The decision to extend his contract back in 2018 is one of the more baffling ones made in recent years.
Daley Blind – 2014 (£13.8m) 6
His versatility and selflessness earn him an extra point or two here. Played as a left-back, a centre-back or a defensive midfielder, he rarely let United down during five seasons at Old Trafford.
Started as a centre-back for Jose Mourinho against his beloved Ajax in the Europa League final in 2017, helping them to a 2-0 win.
Matteo Darmian – 2015 (£16m) 5
It all started so well for the full-back. Man of the Match on his debut and United’s player of the month in August of 2015.
He actually enjoyed a good first season under Louis van Gaal, but quickly fell out favour with his successor Mourinho.
The Italian started in the Europa League final, but he never really lived up to that £16m fee.
Eric Bailly – 2016 (£34m) 5
A defender that has consitently gone from the sublime to the ridiculous during his four seasons with the club.
At times, he looks like he could be the best central defender in the league. Unfortunately those days rarely come along.
Hasn’t played more than 20 times since his first season with the club and another who has never really justified the massive fee.
Victor Lindelof – 2017 (£31m) 6
Signed as the answer to United’s defensive problems, he hasn’t really proved to be that. A fantastic defender on his day, but he has suffered several blips during his time in the Premier League.
He and Maguire looked to have finally cracked it last season, only to look hapless in the early weeks of this campaign.
Still has four years left on his deal so will have time to really establish himself as one of the best. Whether than can happen remains to be seen.
Diogo Dalot – 2018 (£20m) 3
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At times the Portuguese full-back has looked brilliant. But under Solskjaer he has been deemed surplus to requirements and after just two years looks set to be on the way out.
Joined AC Milan on loan in the summer window and it would be a surprise to see him have another go in Manchester.
Looks an expensive mistake for someone who had played just six league games before signing.
Harry Maguire – 2019 (£78m) 6
A difficult one to score. Already a leader at the club, but the fee overshadows a lot of the good.
Comes in for a lot of criticism, at times unfairly. He did help turn United into one of the best defensive sides in the Premier League last term, but at the price paid, fans wanted their own Virgil van Dijk and he isn’t that.
Looks like he needs an excellent defender alongside him, rather than lifting those around him.
The start of this season has been particularly concerning.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 2019 (£50m) 7
Exactly what was advertised.
In Wan-Bissaka United knew they were getting one of the most defensively sound right-backs in English football. And he’s been just that.
His lack of attacking prowess can be frustrating, but in terms of defending there are few better. Should be a staple of the back four for years to come.
Alex Telles – 2020 (£13m) N/A
Obviously too soon to judge, but this looks like a deal that has the potential to be revered as a real bargain.
Consistently one of the best full-backs in Europe, he should provide a healthy goal contribution, while also offering stern competition to Shaw.
Remains to be seen, but could develop into very good business.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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