This Summer’s transfer window is now in full swing and it seems like Ed Woodward and co are ready to make further additions to the team in an attempt to challenge for trophies in the upcoming season. United have yet again been linked with countless players this summer, however, there is one name that should particularly excite the Red Devils. Fabrizio Romano has recently revealed that Sergio Reguilón has been offered to Manchester United by Real Madrid. In this article we will explain why United should do everything in their power to sign the Spanish left back.
Sergio Reguilón truly burst onto the scene in the 2019/20 season whilst on loan at Sevilla. The Real Madrid academy graduate impressed the football world with exceptional performances for the Andalusian club. The 23-year-old left back was picked in the Europa League team of the season which shouldn’t come as a surprise as he played a pivotal role in his team’s victory in the competition. As a result, top European clubs have been enquiring about the youngster. Real Madrid would definitely love to keep him; however, they have an embarrassment of riches in that position. The £50m purchase of Ferland Mendy in 2019 has been a massive success and the Frenchman has now solidified his spot in Zidane’s starting eleven, making 32 impressive appearances last season. Furthermore, the Los Blancos still have Marcelo to provide back-up for the left back spot. Even though the Brazilian is now 32 years old, he’s still an exceptional player that would start for most European teams. Madrid’s admiration of Reguilón is demonstrated by the fact that they’re allegedly insisting on inserting a buy-back clause in any contract, possibly discouraging potential suitors.
Man Utd faced a few challenges at the left back position during the 2019/20 season. Luke Shaw’s struggle with form and injuries over the course of the season led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promoting Brandon Williams to the senior team. The 20-year-old made an impressive start, however, his performances took a slight dip as the season progressed eventually forcing Solskjaer to revert back to Luke Shaw. Going into the 20/21 season, neither of the two are clear favourites to make the left back position their own, leaving an opportunity for Reguilón to fill the void.
Although we have seen right-footed players become amazing left backs in the past, Paolo Maldini and Dennis Irwin being the first names coming to mind, in most instances it makes it difficult for full backs to effectively contribute to their team’s attacks. We have certainly seen this with Brandon Williams at times. His attacking intent has been revered by the fans; however, he frequently slows the play down to move the ball onto his preferred right foot before putting a cross into the box. As a result, he makes less crosses into the box than Ole would have hoped for. Indeed, last season Williams attempted 0.7 crosses per league game on average, 0.2 less than Sergio Reguilón. Williams’ tendency to slow the game down ultimately allows the opposing defenders to get into shape, hence, restricting goal scoring opportunities. Moreover, with the first-choice left winger, Marcus Rashford, favouring cut-ins whilst attacking, Williams’ preference to use his right foot has often seen the two taking up the same spaces and thus getting into each other’s way. Having a left back that can overlap Rashford and put in a first time cross or simply create space would certainly allow United to create more chances.
Luke Shaw was brought in from Southampton for £30m in 2014 to do exactly this. However, the Englishman has often frustrated the Old Trafford faithful with his conservative attacking play. Attacking full backs are pivotal to the modern game with the likes of Alphonso Davies and Andy Robertson, amongst others, highlighting this with their recent success. Since suffering the horrific leg break against PSV in 2015, Shaw has struggled to provide enough attacking support for his teammates. He often gets to good initial positions but instead of overlapping his winger or taking on the full back, he stops the play and passes back to one of the central midfielders. Indeed, Shaw only makes 1.2 successful dribbles per game in the Premier League, highlighting a weakness in his game. In comparison, Sergio Reguilón completed 1.6 dribbles per game in La Liga. This culminated in 4 assists and 41 chances created in the 19/20 season. Shaw failed to assist a single goal in the same period and only created one big chance for his teammates. To further statistically demonstrate Reguilón’s attacking superiority over Shaw – the Spaniard has made 8 goal contributions in two seasons at the top level whereas it took Luke eight seasons to reach that accomplishment.
As we all know, full backs also possess defensive duties. Sergio does not shy away from them. He is great at going forward but that certainly doesn’t impact his ability to help his team prevent goals. He boasts an impressive average of 1.8 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game in the league. This has been critical to Sevilla’s impressive defensive record – only the champions Real Madrid and third placed Atletico Madrid conceded less goals in La Liga last season.
Reguilón isn’t just a better player than Shaw and Williams, solely looking at last season (his average WhoScored rating per game is 7.12 compared to Shaw’s and Williams’ scores of 6.93 and 6.86 respectively), he also perfectly bolsters United’s defensive options and can be used in a system that accompanies at least one of the other two. Firstly, even though Shaw’s attacking frailties have frustrated many United fans, he has impressed with his defensive performances at various points in the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even opted to play him on the left side of a back three. Ole could resort to the 3-at-the-back formation more frequently as Reguilón and Shaw together would suit it perfectly. Sergio would be able to focus on bombarding the opposing defences with his darting runs whilst Shaw would predominantly focus on his stronger defensive attributes. Secondly, Reguilón’s arrival would allow Brandon Williams to return to his favoured right back spot and provide competition and cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, especially as Diogo Dalot’s exit is reportedly imminent. This is where the English youngster featured for most of his academy career and only at 20 years of age, he should be satisfied with being a second-choice option whilst he continues to develop – he is still an undoubtedly talented player. Finally, Reguilón would provide the much-needed balance to United’s side. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been phenomenal since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2019 but he’s more of a defensive minded right back. Reguilón’s attacking prowess would impeccably complement Aaron’s defensive attributes and would make Man Utd a very dangerous side.
At a price of €30m, signing Reguilón should be a no-brainer for the Manchester club. He’s an upgrade on the current left backs and will offer United a completely new attacking outlet that should transcend to more goals, whilst also maintaining defensive stability. The Spaniard still has areas to improve on such as concentration and defensive positioning but at 23 years of age, he has plenty of time to do so. Moreover, he perfectly fits the profile of player that Ole has recently been looking to recruit: young and determined to succeed.
United fans – do you want to see Reguilon at the club? Let us know in the comments!