Man Utd ordered to sign ‘Sergio Ramos-style’ centre-back in January as Ten Hag woes persist

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United, September 2023

Erik ten Hag visibly frustrated on the sideline

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson has urged Manchester United to sign a Sergio Ramos-style centre-back in January to help turn around their season.

The Red Devils have lost four out of five games so far and sit 13th place in the Premier League after a dismal start to the season.

Defending has proved to be one of their main problems. Man Utd have shipped 10 goals in five league games, with only Burnley and Wolves having a worse defensive record.

They also conceded four goals in their defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Erik ten Hag is also facing injury issues at the back, with Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka out for over a month at least, while Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have also missed matches this season.

Martinez, Varane, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans have all featured for the Red Devils this season.

Merson thinks that Man Utd’s current centre-back options aren’t ‘leading’ defenders and that has been the cause of their poor form.

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Merson tells Man Utd to sign Ramos-style CB

In a recent interview, Merson said that Man Utd should look to bring in a Sergio Ramos-style centre-back in January, after claiming that they are ‘all over the place.’

“Manchester United are absolutely all over the place,” Merson wrote for Sportskeeda.

“You can’t concede four goals away from home in a big European game and expect to get anything out of it, they need to find ways to keep things tight at the back.

Bayern Munich took a 2-0 lead against Man Utd on Wednesday. Hojlund clawed a goal back just after half time, before familiar foe Harry Kane netted a penalty to halt the Red Devil’s comeback.

Casemiro scored in the 88th minute to make it 3-2, only for Man Utd to concede again four minutes later. Casemiro scored a consolation goal right at the death to make it 4-3.

Clearly, Ten Hag is facing a real problem with his defence this season.

“Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof are all good defenders, but they aren’t leading central defenders,” Merson added.

“I don’t mean this badly, but they are No. 2 defenders and need someone more experienced alongside them – as we saw with Varane when he had Sergio Ramos next to him at Real Madrid.”

Man Utd have been linked with several centre-backs recently. Jean-Clair Todibo of Nice has been on their radar for some time, for instance, but he doesn’t really fit the Ramos-style description – at least not yet.

With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Man Utd take Merson’s advice and sign a new centre-back in January.

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