Andrea Ranocchia is the player Manchester United should be looking to draft into central defence.
The 25-year-old is actually a better defender than United’s current stalwart in defence Rio Ferdinand, based on a set of statistics based on league performances last season.
There have already been plenty of suggestions that Ezequiel Garay of Benfica will be the next man to move into central defence for United but Inter’s Ranocchia could be a better alternative.
Ranocchia wins twice as many aerial duels than Ferdinand based on league performances last season.
He is three inches taller than Ferdinand but it is still a surprising stat as the current United man is still well over six feet tall.
If Ranocchia could replicate his 3.5 aerial duels won per game average at Old Trafford then he could dramatically improve the defence’s chances of clearing danger and easing pressure quickly.
Ranocchia also makes a significantly higher number of tackles than Ferdinand per game on average.
Ranocchia produced 3.7 tackles per game in Serie A last season while Ferdinand came up with 1.3 tackles per game based on his Premier League appearances.
That shows that Ranocchia is much more aggressive than Ferdinand, something backed up by the fact he also received 11 yellow cards while Ferdinand was only booked on two occasions.
Ranocchia wins more offsides per game than Ferdinand on average, which is likely due to the fact he’s a younger and quicker player.
Ferdinand is a defender who can’t afford to drag the United back four into a very high position because he doesn’t have the pace to cope and get back if the opposition beat the offside trap.
Ranocchia wins 0.7 offsides per game based on last season, which means David Moyes could rely on him if the United back four pushed slightly higher up the pitch to maintain attacking pressure.
The stats also suggest that Ranocchia is slightly better when it comes to reading the game and getting into positions to make blocks when he can’t get close to a player to win the ball back.
His average in terms of blocked shots per game is higher than Ferdinand’s last season with an extra important block in every three matches.
Is Ranocchia a good replacement for Ferdinand? Should United still go after Garay?