The Red Devils are expected to complete a mass overhaul of their squad during the transfer window following their disastrous performance throughout the 2021/22 campaign. Erik ten Hag wants to bolster his defence at Old Trafford this summer.
Ajax pair Jurrien Timber and Lisandro Martinez have been linked with moves to the club and it remains to be seen whether the Red Devils will be able seal deals for the duo. Amid those questions, United hero Ferdinand has suggested that up to a couple of the United’s existing options – including Maguire – could be set to exit this summer.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five podcast, he said: “I’ll be interested to see what Ten Hag does in that area [defence]. We’re talking about the young lad, Timber, at Ajax, a small centre-half. I’ll be interested to see what happens with [Raphael] Varane, [Victor] Lindelof and Maguire, Eric Bailly as well, I think one or two of those will go.”
Of course, whatever the business this summer, fans will be keen to see tangible improvements in the defence under Ten Hag. The Red Devils conceded 57 Premier League goals last season – more than relegated Burnley – and the most for the club in a top-flight season in over 30 years.
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That was despite United entering the market for a centre-back last summer, signing Raphael Varane from Real Madrid. The World Cup winner arrived for a fee thought to be in the region of £34million and he was tipped to bolster a leaky defence.
It did not pan out that way, however, as the Frenchman struggled with injuries and inconsistent form. He has since called on his teammates – and defensive colleagues – to improve next season.
“I think we have good players, players with experience,” Varane said. “I think it’s not just about the defence but the whole team. And I think we can improve, we can defend better.
“We can be more in control during games. Sometimes we’re able to play very well 20-30 minutes and then play bad 10 or 15 minutes. We lost a lot of points like this. I think if we are consistent, we can improve a lot. So I think it’s a collective work we have to do.”
Whilst it has been suggested that the Red Devils could welcome defensive recruits to the club this summer, it appears that the attack has been the first port of call. Recent reports have alluded to an imminent deal for Ajax winger Antony, who worked with Ten Hag to good effect.