Manchester United may have avoided a £32m mistake by not signing Eliaquim Mangala

Eliaquim Mangala

Manchester United were linked with a move for Eliaquim Mangala before he signed for Manchester City, but showing faith in youth could reap the rewards.

Last summer Manchester United were linked with just about every decent centre-back in Europe, with the usual suspects generating the most column inches.

Some of those players stayed where they were, including Mats Hummels and Miranda, while others departed for pastures news, most notably Mehdi Benatia, Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala.

But while Benatia was always going to choose Bayern Munich and United inexplicably passed on Garay, United may have avoided a £32million mistake by not signing Mangala, who instead moved to Manchester City.

The Frenchman was said to be in the middle of a transfer battle between the Manchester rivals but ultimately opted for a move to the Etihad in a British-record deal for a defender.

United’s only central defensive reinforcement came in the form of Marcos Rojo but despite a string of injuries that have blighted the Argentine, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, it could be argued that Mangala was an expensive mistake avoided.

The French international was always going to take time to settle at the Etihad, but his red card against Southampton last weekend came just weeks after a nightmare game against Hull City, when the 23-year-old scored an own goal and conceded a penalty in the space of 11 minutes.

City ultimately won the match 4-2 but when you consider how easily Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett have taken to first-team duties at United it could be argued they saved a huge wad of money in not pushing harder for Mangala.

An experienced centre-back is still expected to arrive at Old Trafford either in January or more likely next summer, but for now United are benefiting from youth and when they do bring in a new defender, they are expected to come with the experience Mangala is still accruing.

Of course in time the City player should blossom and he is still expected to become a fantastic defender, but when you consider the price being touted for Hummels, who is just two years older than the Frenchman but considerably more experienced, United may have known what they were doing all along.

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