There is ambiguity over Manchester United's supposed interest in Atletico Madrid defender Miranda.
In the space of 24 hours, the Old Trafford club were alleged to have activated a £24m release clause in the club's contract with the player (AS), yet later on Wednesday evening United reportedly "denied" there was a deal in the offing that would bring the Brazilian centre back to Stretford (Metro).
At £24m, United could be accused of over-spending… particularly when arguably the hottest available defender in world football, Moroccan centre half Mehdi Benatia of AS Roma, is potentially available for £35m. Whilst good, Miranda is not in the class of Benatia, but just what would United be getting for their money, if the Miranda bid were to go through?
|Team||Tackle /App||Intercept /App||Clear /App||Block /App||Pass Acc||Pass /App||Acc Long Ball /App||Apps||Mins|
When it comes to tackling, Miranda is the most prolific (2.2 challenges per match) out of comparable defenders already plying their trade in the Premier League such as Chelsea skipper John Terry (less than one a game), Arsenal's elegant athlete Laurent Koscielny and England international Phil Jagielka (both 1.7).
However, that is the only key statistic he dominates as Koscielny is the most frequent intercepter and blocker of the football (lending credence to his reputation as one of the best when it comes to positional understanding) and Phil Jagielka is not only the most proactive when it comes to clearing his line (8.9 clearances per appearance), but is also most often on the football, attempting 54 passes per game.
One of the areas Miranda is listed as excelling at, is long ball distribution from the back, however, even here he is comparable to Koscielny and miles off the frequency and efficiency of Jagielka.
Miranda is a physically adept athlete, perhaps analogous to who he may ultimately replace - Nemanja Vidic - however, the Serbian was an unforgiving stopper capable of being the last line in defence, due to an adventurous roster ahead of him on the field.
Miranda has been playing in a system under Diego Simeone at the Vicente Calderon that is more comparable to Chelsea's Jose Mourinho, as the unit as a whole help in defensive actions. The 29-year-old would not receive this protection operating in a first XI picked by the attack-minded Louis van Gaal.
Considering the transfer fee in question, this is perhaps money that could be better spent on other targets…