Manchester United reportedly remain in the mix for the signing of Bayern Munich defender, Benjamin Pavard, albeit with Erik ten Hag’s side set to have to try and see off rivals Manchester City for the Frenchman’s signature.
What are the latest Man United transfer rumours?
There has been notable speculation of late that the Red Devils are seeking to move on club captain, Harry Maguire, ahead of next season, with Europa Conference League winners, West Ham United said to be interested in signing the 30-year-old this summer.Amid that talk of an exit for the Englishman, Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg has confirmed United’s interest in a possible replacement in the form of Pavard, albeit with City also in the running at present, alongside Juventus.
Writing on Twitter, the transfer insider revealed: “Pavard: FC Bayern, waiting for concrete offers now! Talks between the players management and ManCity took place as #Guardiola is very interested in Pavard. But there are no agreements yet. At this stage, it’s a race between #MCFC, ManUtd and Juventus.”
According to prior reports, the 27-year-old could command a fee of just €30m (£26m) if he is to be sold this summer, with the versatile ace having entered into the final year of his contract at the Allianz Arena.
How good is Benjamin Pavard?
For a player comfortable operating at centre-back or at right-back, it is no surprise that there is such significant interest in landing the World Cup winner for a cut-price fee, with such flexibility likely to make the former Stuttgart ace a real asset to Ten Hag.The 6 foot 2 rock – who also described himself as “more complete” than Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold – may not be the most glamourous or “sexy” of names, in his own words, yet he could prove to be a wise investment for the Old Trafford outfit this summer.
The hope will be that Pavard could replicate the success that another former Bundesliga talent Manuel Akanji has enjoyed since trading Germany for Manchester a year ago, with the Swiss international having gone on to secure treble glory at the Etihad last term.
Much like Pavard, the 6 foot 1 centre-back – who can also operate at full-back – was snapped up on the cheap to little fanfare last summer, with Pep Guardiola’s side forking out just £15m as the player also had just a year left on his contract at Borussia Dortmund at the time.As pundit Alan Hutton noted at the time, it looked as if that signing was merely to help bolster the club’s “strength in depth”, albeit with Akanji going on to make 48 appearances in all competitions, as he simply “surpassed expectations” – as per ex-England number one, Paul Robinson.
Much like the 27-year-old, Pavard – who has been described as “underrated” by Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel – could perhaps surprise a few next term if he is to link up with Ten Hag, having shown signs of his quality of late.
The Frenchman has the tools to thrive in the Premier League due to his likeness to Akanji, with the pair both adept at playing out from the back as the latter man ranks in the top 17% among his European peers for progressive passes and the top 20% for progressive carries, while Pavard ranks in the top 1% and the top 9% for those same two metrics, respectively.
That ball-playing quality is also showcased by the fact that while the former Dortmund ace ranks in the top 3% for attempted passes as a marker of his desire to play forward, Pavard again ranks in the top 1% for that same metric.As such, having seen the impact that Akanji has made in Manchester to date, Ten Hag could land his own version of the former Basel gem by snapping up another unsung Bundesliga ace this summer.