Toby Alderweireld has recently been linked with a high-priced move to Manchester United from Tottenham, so we’re taking a look at what this would mean for United’s squad.
Alderweireld is a top defender in the Premier League and has also been sensational for the Belgian national team. The qualities he boasts most strongly are his composure and passing from the back. Alderweireld is a patient leader that stakes his claim at the back end of the pitch and seldom gives anything up. Alderweireld combines well with more aggressive defenders, since Alderweireld himself is less aggressive. He also has an amazing passing ability that can create a lot of play from the backline. He has the vision to pass it short to create an aggressive counter, but also has been known for his long passes in an attempt to catch back lines off their guard.
While Alderweireld is a seasoned veteran at this point in his career and is a polished defender, a weakness of his is his lack of tackling and winning balls in the air. Alderweireld is tall, over six feet tall, but seems to lose more aerial duels than he wins. Along with this, he is not bad at tackling, he just does not tackle often. Both of these are often seen as more aggressive and risky moves for defenders, and this is simply not the style of play Alderweireld prescribes to.
Do United need a player like this?
The short of it? United need a player like this more than any other position on the pitch. Why? United have a defender problem. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are too inconsistent to be playing at a top club like Manchester United, Victor Lindelöf is still developing into a top defender and still getting used to the Premier League, and while Eric Bailly is a top defender, he can be too aggressive and needs to be paired with a more patient partner at the back. All of this makes Alderweireld coming to United a slam dunk. Thinking about a partnership with Bailly, Alderweireld brings the perfect amount of caution and leadership that a wild and aggressive Bailly needs in order to help David De Gea do his job.
The Final Rating
Overall, this transfer would get a 10 out of 10 for me. In my opinion, United should be willing to pay whatever Spurs chairman Daniel Levy wants in order to make this happen. A leader in the back like Alderweireld would match well with Bailly, and also help develop a young Lindelöf become a better center back himself. Having that experience and confidence at the back would allow the wingers to play forward more and allow players like Pogba get up the pitch and create more chances. José Mourinho loves a solid defense and Alderweireld is truly the missing piece to United having a top defense that could help them make the final push to challenge for the title.