Niklas Sule’s freshly agreed summer move from Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund has caused a stir in Germany.
As we previously outlined, the centre-back’s switch makes it even more likely defender Dan-Axel Zagadou will leave as a free agent in the summer, a player German outlet Fussball Transfers reported United made contact with during January.
An even better option could become available.
German channel Sport1 report Manuel Akanji is unsettled by Sule’s upcoming arrival and less likely to now extend his contract which expires in 2023.
The outlet claim Ralf Rangnick is ‘very interested’ in Akanji and could recommend United make a move in the summer.
While Zagadou would be the developmental prospect to replace Eric Bailly and sit and learn as fourth choice, a move for Akanji would present a very different strategy.
Akanji would be a move to upgrade the first team now, and potentially replace Harry Maguire as Raphael Varane’s partner.
Maguire was awful last night as United drew with Burnley, costing United a goal at both ends, and continuing to look like the most uninspiring captain in the Premier League.
Sport1 report Akanji dreams of a move to the Premier League, and would cost around just £25 million Euros.
The 26-year-old has 38 international caps for Switzerland and has made 148 appearances for Dortmund.
He would come strongly recommended by former Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho as well as Ralf Rangnick, although ultimately transfer decisions will rest on the next manager.
Akanji is a quick defender, comfortable in possession with both feet.
This season he has completed 90 per cent of his passes, while winning 2.2 aerial duels per game, second only to Mats Hummels in the Dortmund side.
It’s easy to be suspicious of German based players in contract situations being linked to United, so be sceptical. But there’s one factor which makes Akanji likely to jump at the chance to move to Old Trafford if a chance presents itself.
Akanji is a self-confessed United fan, quoted by The Mirror in 2018: “Many know that Manchester United has been my favourite club since childhood.
It would be nice to play there.”
United have multiple areas to fix in the summer.
Midfield, striker, right-back, and centre-back is a position United would rather not address unless it is unavoidable.
Harry Maguire’s season is tipping the balance in that direction. If Ralf Rangnick recommends United make a change, Akanji is a very sensible replacement.
He is experienced, talented, and very reasonably priced due to his contract, allowing United to spend money to fix other positions too.