Manchester United’s membrane-thin backline has come in for reinforced criticism in recent days following their 5-3 horror show at Leicester, but Louis van Gaal has reportedly found a solution to their strife.
The Red Devils’ recent penchant for Argentinean acquisitions is showing no signs of abating according to the Express, who identify Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi as the club’s new top target.
Despite defeat at the King Power Stadium, United remain 7/10 fancies to finish in the top-four this term and, even without any winter defensive bolstering, this still rates a decent value bet owing to the calibre of their attack.
Assuming January rearguard investment is forthcoming, as interest in Otamendi suggests it is, these odds are sure to tumble.
But what do we know about the Buenos Aries-born stopper?
Los Che forked out £9.5m for his services in the previous winter transfer window before loaning him out to Brazilian faction Atletico Miniero for the remainder of the season.
Since returning to the Mestalla, however, he’s become an integral part of their backline, starting each of their four La Liga games so far.
Those eager to carry out their own scouting mission, Otamendi will be holding the Valencia fort at home to Cordoba this evening, where his side are priced up at 17/20 to keep a clean sheet.
Unsullied linen in this fixture would take their shutout total to three from five with the 26-year-old marshalling the defence.
He’s averaged 3.3 tackles and, a greater barometer of his danger-repelling prowess, 2.5 interceptions in his four outings so far.
Capable in possession, Otamendi is also lauded for his passing ability, as well not being afraid to dribble the ball out of defence if options are scarce.
A front-foot defender, he favours a pressing, combative approach to engaging opponents, which would compliment the more reserved styles of the likes of Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans.