Tyrell Malacia has developed both on and off the pitch at Feyenoord, making him ready for Manchester United, says an ex-Feyenoord coach.
United have made the left-back the first signing of new manager Erik ten Hag’s era at Old Trafford. It remains unclear where in United’s pecking order the 22-year-old ranks.
Indeed, Luke Shaw remains a first-team regular but there is doubt over Alex Telles’ future.
Furthermore, Man Utd have yet to decide full-back Brandon Williams’ fate following his loan spell at Norwich.
In any case, former Feyenoord assistant boss Said Bakkati has said that Malacia improved in his time with the Eredivisie giants and looks ready to impress in the Premier League.
“A good, talented player. He has a good character and always gave one hundred percent in training. A real biter,” Bakkati told FR12.nl.
“He could still make progress on the ball, but in the end, he did. He plays more balls forward now, instead of wide or back. He has made great development.
“The most important step he made then is that he became more mature. He performed more consistently; no longer a rated as 9/10 one game and 4/10 the next. That’s an important factor, especially for a defender.”
United paid Feyenoord a reported £12.9million plus bonuses to sign Malacia.
Bakkati added that the full-back is “lucky” that Ten Hag, who “uses the same football philosophy” had locked onto him at his new club.
However, the coach added that Ten Hag, who left Ajax at the end of last season, had eyes on Malacia throughout the season.
And Bakkati claimed that Ajax’s thrilling 3-2 win over Feyenoord in March ramped up Ten Hag’s interest.
Ten Hag swooped on Malacia interest
“If a club like that approaches you, you take that step,” Bakkati said. “Then you do not say no. He is lucky that there is a Dutch coach there who uses the same football philosophy.
“I think the second Klassieker of last season convinced Erik ten Hag.
“Someone who can make things so difficult for Antony and who can keep a close eye on him throughout the match, that’s a player who fits in with Manchester United.”
Netherlands international Malacia played 50 games for Feyenoord last season.
As well as his defensive work, he also contributed a goal and five assists in all competitions.
Man Utd bolster their ranks
United now have a wealth of full-backs at their disposal and it is likely one or more will leave this summer now that Malacia has arrived.
At left-back, Telles could well depart to allow Luke Shaw and Malacia to battle for minutes.
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Over on the right flank, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has reportedly been offered away and Diogo Dalot’s long-term future at Old Trafford remains unclear.
Then there is young Englishman Williams, who is capable of playing in either full-back position. He insisted earlier this year that he will only return to United for regular minutes and could therefore look elsewhere.