Manchester United’s pursuit of Kieran Trippier is one of the transfer secrets of the transfer window.
Although talk of the potential signature has mostly been limited to probability and fee, a more pressing question would be, do Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do you need him?
Tifo has presented an analysis of both United’s current right-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Atletico Madrid man who is expected to challenge for his place.
It features a couple of interesting nuggets about two very different players, while taking a broader look at the tactical implications of Trippier’s contested arrival.
Wan-Bissaka’s attacking restrictions have been covered – perhaps even overestimated – many times. While no one will suggest he is Cafus’ second come, he became more and more effective last season, scoring two goals and assisting four.
Tifo makes an interesting observation about United’s current setback. Despite often having acres of space to utilize, he prefers to carry the ball instead of releasing it quickly.
This tendency to stop and assess his options is seen as an obstacle to the fluidity of United’s attacking play down the right side.
Conversely, a quick cross into the field is considered one of Trippier’s most important qualities.
Of the last five assists the Englishman claimed for Atletico, all five were one-touch passes. No dawdling, no delay and no time for the defense to put itself.
In short, he delivers the kind of snappy, penetrating cross that Edinson Cavani would thrive on.
There are not many revelations about the two players’ contrasting defensive styles. Even in a far less confident back-fire, ‘Spider-Wan’ has the pace, power and tackling ability to dominate all around him alone.
By comparison, Trippier has the luxury of belonging to a far more solid defensive unit, allowing him to concentrate on pushing his opponents wide, certainly in the knowledge that one in three miserable center-backs will handle the possible cross.
Ultimately, this clash of styles boils down to three key points.
First, would the signing herald a change of style in which United used wingbacks and eliminated Wan-Bissaka as a third, right-wing center-back?
This is not a completely convincing argument, as the sense of position has long been one of the weak points of defense. However, it is an opportunity and the opportunities are always good.
Second, is formation flexibility the driver behind a move? United have often struggled against a low-block, and the former Spurs’ star added determination and speed of thought, giving Solskjær the opportunity to rotate his back-backs to suit the opponent.
Finally, how would the signing affect the development of United’s current current position? The former Crystal Palace outlook has really improved over the last two years and has much more to offer. Would he be ok with less playing time, and would Trippier at 30 be happy to rotate?
All this without a single mention of Alex like that effect. Even for those who remain unconvinced of the versatility and attacking drive that Tripper would bring, would likely the prospect of United’s current right-back have an experienced professional to learn from – and compete against – would seal the deal?
Luke Shaw has flourished by competition, then can United look set to repeat the trick this summer?
All the top sides have strength in depth, so the chance to snare a quality alternative in a position of weakness just can’t be ignored.
If the price is right, it makes sense to bring the England man home again. After years of illogical transfer movements, the sudden dawn of logic over Old Trafford is delayed, but very welcome.