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Another piece of the puzzle sitting on Man United’s doorstep

| 20.08.2014

Marcos Rojo’s imminent arrival at Old Trafford is good news for Louis van Gaal’s lean-looking Manchester United squad, but the spending on defensive reinforcements must not stop there.

United got off to the worst possible start in the Premier League, losing at home to an organised Swansea side that exposed the fragility of Van Gaal’s current squad to play his preferred 3-5-2 system.

Young Tyler Blackett, who operated as part of a central trio of defenders, doesn’t look ready for regular top-flight action, while aside from the injured duo of Luke Shaw and Rafael the candidates to play wing-back are all under-qualified.

Rojo’s capture as a left-sided centre-back able to operate as a left wing-back therefore makes bundles of sense, but across town there is another player Van Gaal should be seriously considering a swoop for.

In a strange move that can only be due to his injury problems of last season, neighbours Manchester City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini has declared 21-year-old centre-half Matija Nastasic is surplus to requirements.

Unsurprisingly, top clubs such as Arsenal and Juventus are thought to be extremely willing to give City’s 2012/13 Young Player of the Year a new home.

Providing a thorough medical doesn’t uncover any lingering injury doubts, though, Van Gaal’s hat should be winging its way into the ring before the likes of Juve snap him up.

Nastasic showed as a teenager that he could handle the pace and physical pressures of the Premier League and is certainly as good, if not better than the current cast of centre-backs at United.

While efforts to attract a supposed world-class centre-half continue to flounder, United need to get real with some of their targets and City’s loss really could be their gain.

Van Gaal takes his troops to Sunderland next, where the Red Devils traditionally enjoy great success and despite the opening-day defeat their 3/4 price to win is reflective of this.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.