Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag considers Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane his first-choice defensive duo, according to reports. The duo had inconsistent seasons last time out. But their new boss believes they can both improve as he seeks to bring back the glory days at Old Trafford.
Manchester United signed Maguire from Leicester in the 2019 summer transfer window, with the England international leaving Leicester.
And, last year, they believed the 29-year-old would take his game to a new level when Varane landed from Real Madrid.
Ultimately, however, both players were disappointed as United endured a terrible season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick – with the club scoring 57 goals as they finished sixth in the Premier League table.
But while Maguire and Varane struggled, the Guardian say Ten Hag named the pair as his ‘first-choice’ centre-back pair.
This suggests that while the club are open to bringing in a new defender, they will only be brought in to provide competition for the duo.
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Still, the Ivory Coast international has often struggled with injuries and only made four Premier League appearances last season.
Linked with AC Milan and Napoli, all signs point to Bailly being sacked by United this summer.
Axel Tuanzebe worked hard during his time at Napoli last season, especially after failing to impress at Aston Villa.
And United are also ready to part ways with the centre-back, who was previously tipped for a bright future under Solskjaer.
Phil Jones, who has been at the club since 2011, is another player the Red Devils are ready to let go.
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Like Bailly, however, injuries have often prevented the England international from realizing his potential at Old Trafford.
And that means Jones is headed for the exit door, provided potential suitors can be found.
Meanwhile, when it comes to Maguire, the United star has come under intense scrutiny over the past 12 months.
His form hasn’t just faltered at club level, with the former Leicester star recently struggling for England as well.
But Martin Keown urged Ten Hag to trust Maguire, saying: “It’s not the first time I’ve come to Maguire’s defense. I’ve done that during the season too.
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“Fans and pundits can provide constructive criticism, but sometimes it feels like the comments made about Maguire have fallen more into the category of abuse and that’s not true.
“He’s a good player who took on the pressure of the Manchester United captain and a centre-back who won Gareth Southgate’s trust because he was reliable.
“He went through a difficult period in terms of form. The way Ralf Rangnick wanted him to play, in a pressing system with a high defensive line, was different for Maguire and he looked a bit badly off. comfortable with it.
“You hope Erik ten Hag will use it correctly, noticing that the stats say United concede less than a goal a game and have only lost twice when Maguire and Raphael Varane start together.”