in-form central defenders Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling have showed enough of a hike in form to convince Manchester United interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stick with them.
That’s the view of former Old Trafford ace Nemanja Vidic after it emerged that the Red Devils were considering a move for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, 30. The Belgium stopper was a target for the Theatre of Dreams giants last summer and if United were to reach the £26million release clause in his contract they could snare the reliable rear-guard operative to bolster their backline.
But Vidic, who won five Premier League titles in a highly successful eight-year spell at United which ended with a move to Inter Milan in 2014, says his former club should instead make their principal recruit a midfielder. That said, he wouldn’t be disappointed if Alderweireld did make the switch from London to Manchester.
He said: “Of course, I would like to see him Alderweireld there but I think the club has to have a priority. What I see is, if you want to be in the Champions League next season and challenge for the Premier League, you have to strengthen the midfield. You need that depth in the midfield area. In defence they already have five players, so they can rotate, and it seems like they’re doing well.”
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi is hailed as the world’s greatest footballer — but United ace Juan Mata admits that Barcelona genius will need to have a bad day at the office if the Red Devils are to progress when they face them in the quarter finals of the Champions League. The Catalan giants go to Old Trafford for their last-eight first leg clash on April 10 before United fly out to play at the Nou Camp on April 16.
In his own blog, former Chelsea star Mata wrote: “The draw for the Champions League took place, where we have been matched up with Barcelona. In La Liga, Barça beat Real Betis, thanks to another masterclass from Lionel Messi, and we will have to hope that he isn’t so inspired when we play against them.
“This tie will ask us to put in a huge effort, but we are ready to give our best to try to go through. Obviously, it is a huge challenge, but this is what this club is made of, overcoming adversity, demanding a lot from yourself and wanting to win. As Barça are one of the toughest opponents in world football, we will have to put all of that into practice.”
Another tough opponent is Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot, though admittedly not in the same stratosphere as Argentina ace Messi. But he could well be on his way to United, according to a flurry of press reports.
Rabiot, who is a free agent at the end of the season, would welcome a move to the Premier League and to test himself in England. First, though, United have to make up their mind about who will boss the team next season. They have still not confirmed who will be in the hot seat despite Solskjaer shining in the role.