Forget Hummels, Manchester United linked Nicolas Otamendi proves he’s the real deal

Mestalla Valencia

Manchester United target Nicolas Otamendi put on a defensive masterclass as Valencia downed Real Madrid 2-1.

Manchester United have been linked with a number of defenders this season as questions remain over their frail back line.

The Red Devils started this season in inconsistent fashion, illustrated by a constant change in personnel and an injury crisis forcing Louis van Gaal to hand out first-team debuts to former academy stars.

Despite an impressive 11-game undefeated run and a surge up the Premier League table, many observers still point to the defence as a key area which needs strengthening this January.

Defenders such as Diego Godin and Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels are names which have come up repeatedly over the past few weeks, but what about the long-standing target Nicolas Otamendi?

The Argentine international was said to be close to moving to Old Trafford last season while at Porto, yet instead he ended up signing for Valencia for a bargain €12 million fee.

Standing at just over 6ft and described as a rock at the back, the 26-year-old would be perfect for this current United team and proved just why with a defensive masterclass last night.

With Real Madrid arriving at a noisy Mestalla stadium boasting a 22-game winning streak, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were undone by a brilliant home performance with Otamendi grabbing the winner in a 2-1 victory.

Aside from becoming the goal hero, the former Porto man shut out former United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo superbly, making three tackles, three interceptions and a whopping ten effective clearances.

United’s interest in the defender seems to have remained despite him swapping Portugal for La Liga, but his price tag will have undoubtedly shot up over the past six months.

Otamendi has a reported €50 million release clause in his contract, but such a figure is nonsensical from a selling perspective and van Gaal could get his perfect man for a much more realistic price.

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