Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has certainly got Old Trafford singing again, with five wins from five on the bounce, making a top four position in the Premier League becoming a real possibility again for Manchester United and the meeting with PSG in the Champions League looking a little less daunting.
However, Manchester United fans are still clamouring for some exciting new signings this January to reinvigorate the squad even more, and a particular area of attention is the defence.
Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones have performed admirably in United’s recent resurgence, but the latter still sends moderate shivers down spines on a weekly glance at the team sheet. The reckless Jones always seems to be one tackle away from costing United three points.
Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho managed to bring in the young, untested Diogo Dalot from Porto in the summer but a certifiably dominant right-back is still high on the agenda. Antonio Valencia has been relatively successful since converting from right-wing, but at 33-years-old is far from a long-term option in the frenetic pace of the Premier League
In 2018’s World Cup in Russia, France international Benjamin Pavard certainly made a name for himself with some stellar performances as Les Bleus romped to their second trophy in the competition.
Pavard - a natural centre-back deployed on the right of defence effectively by coach Didier Deschamps - memorably scored arguably the goal of the tournament in a sizzling first knockout stage win over Argentina, leading to many of Europe’s elite clubs to start vying for his signature.
The 22-year-old Stuttgart starlet has made 18 appearances for the France national team, with that strike in the ‘argy-bargy’ his single goal for country. He played the full 90 minutes in all but one game of France’s campaign in Russia.
However, Manchester United - who were one of the clubs rumoured to be an interested party in picking up Pavard (The Sun) - will now have to cross another name off their prospective defensive recruitment list, after Stuttgart’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich pounced to pick up Pavard.
“I can announce that we managed to get the services of Benjamin Pavard from 1 July 2019,”
Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said during a Bayern training camp in Qatar (The Guardian).
“He signed a five-year contract.”
“He is a very interesting player whom we really want to sign. He has qualities that fit into our game. He can dribble well and has a drive towards goal. He has a lot of potential.”
The deal is said to be worth £31.4m. Pavard has made 71 appearances for Stuttgart, who currently sit just above the Bundesliga relegation zone in 16th. Munich meanwhile are attempting to achieve their seventh successive league title, and are six points behind league leaders Borussia Dortmund.