rio ferdinand

Ferdinand urges Man Utd to prioritise a centre-back over 'generational talent' Sancho

Rio Ferdinand has urged his former club to prioritise the signing of a dominant centre-back rather than targeting the ‘generational talent’ of Jadon Sancho.

Manchester United‘s interest in Sancho is no secret, the Borussia Dortmund forward having developed into one of the worlds most exciting young players during his three seasons in the Bundesliga, scoring 35 goals and providing 45 assists in just 102 outings for the German giants.

Despite being reluctant to pay Dortmund’s €120 million asking price, the club remain hopeful of landing the England international in a move that would massively improve their attacking output.

However, last week’s 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace drew widespread criticism of the side’s defence, with Victor Lindelof in particular being made scapegoat after having a part in all three goals.

Club legend Rio Ferdinand has now joined the calls for United to sign a ‘dominant’ defender to partner Harry Maguire, naming RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano as the standout candidate to improve the Red Devils fragility at the back.

“I’ve been banging the drum for a long time about buying a centre-half,” Ferdinand told talkSport.

“It’s not going to solve every problem but it’s one of the biggest problems. There’s no dominant centre-half which makes the opposition think, ‘I’m going to have to do something today to get any change out of him’.

“You need that if you’re going to win anything. Jadon Sancho is a generational talent who is here to stay, so you can understand the interest, but for me, they need a centre-back.

“Upamecano is young, good on the ball, athletic, strong, mobile, plays every game. He’s one you can see coming in right now.

“[Kalidou] Koulibaly has been spoken about for two or three years, he might have missed the boat due to his age. There’s no resale value.

“Upamecano is the one who jumps out to me, when I watched the Champions League last year, he was the one who stood out to me.

“If you sign Jadon Sancho, I think you still have the same problems as last season.”

Ferdinand’s comments came before United’s 3-2 win against Brighton on Saturday, and having been in attendance at the AmEx, the 41-year-old once again expressed his concerns over the side’s defence.

“It is not an issue that emerged the other day,” he said on BT Sport. “I want Jadon Sancho, he is a generational talent and would get fans off their seats, but does he solve the fundamental problems I see with this team?

“There are moments before games when the opposition, are they looking across and saying they are going to have to be at their best to score past this Man United defence? I don’t think so.”

Solskjaer admits there’s ‘plenty of work to do’ as underwhelming Man Utd seal dramatic 3-2 win over Brighton

See also – Five of the greatest back fours in Premier League history

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