Fabio Coentrao: Is he needed at United? Is he an upgrade on Luke Shaw?

Fabio Coentrao

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is reportedly hoping Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao can persuade Fabio Coentrao to join the club in January.

Manchester United want to follow up their summer signing of Angel Di Maria with a move for Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao, according to the Daily Express.

It is believed that Louis van Gaal could look to utilise current United stars Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria to attempt to persuade Coentrao that his future lies at Old Trafford. The trio share an agent in Jorge Mendes, and a move could go through as early as January.

The 26-year-old has made just three appearances for Los Blancos this season, and Van Gaal is willing to offer him a way out after the Red Devils failed with a bid during the last window.

Is he needed at Old Trafford?

The Red Devils have experienced difficulties at the back throughout the opening weeks of the season; a problem Van Gaal will undoubtedly be looking to address when the transfer window re-opens in the new year. 

As a natural left-sided wing-back the Portuguese international would contend with youngster Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo for a place in the side. With Daley Blind also capable of playing on the left side of defence, the squad is fairly saturated in this department.

The club need to invest in a dominant centre-back come January; a role that Coentrao cannot fulfill. 

Is he an upgrade to Luke Shaw?

With Rojo a natural central defender,  Luke Shaw remains the club's number-one left-back, but whether Coentrao is more adept than the former Southampton teenager, particularly in a defensive capacity, is up for debate.

Both Shaw and Coentrao have one league appearance to their name this term, and having played 90 minutes each, the Red Devils youngster emerges superior. 

  TeamPosAppsMinsTackles WonAvg Duels WonAvg Def ActionDribble Succ (%)Total Att AssistPass Accuracy (%)
Fabio Coentrao Real Madrid DF 1 90 0 40.00 2 50 0 90
Luke Shaw Man Utd DF 1 90 3 67.00 5 50 1 86.49

Shaw has already won a greater number of tackles than the Portugal international, whilst recording one more key pass.

Perhaps most telling is the fact he has won an impressive 67% of his total duels, while weighing in with five defensive actions in his opening match - these totals are far superior to the efforts of the Portugal international. 

Coentrao would face a tough task breaking into the first-team set-up at Old Trafford, and all things considered, he'd do little more than add experience to Van Gaal's youthful squad. 

How much would he cost?

Considering he was available for a reported £12 million last January, Real will surely allow him to leave for less than £10 million when the window re-opens. He has played very few matches since United last registered their interest and this could see him depart for a cut-price fee.

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