Man United hopeful of center-back improvement amid need to downsize in defense

The Erik ten Hag regime has hardly kicked off without a hitch at Old Trafford this summer as Manchester United continue to struggle with securing vital reinforcements under the Dutch tactician after a frustrating 2021-22 Premier League campaign.

One area that United have not been stripped of depth in has been defence, and as reported by Simon Peach (chief football writer at PA Media), there is a sentiment in the Red Devils' camp that the club's current defensive options may be able to kick on and improve under Ten Hag over the course of his first season at the helm.

At current, United boast twelve defenders across the back line, certainly bloated by comparison to other sides in the Premier League, but there could be potential for players the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, and Eric Bailly to prove their capability to come on line under new management.

Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned players - among others - have truly lived up to the level required of a club of Man United's stature both domestically and on a global scale, and there may still be a need for the club to bring in reinforcements that raise the level of quality in defence.

With six center-backs and four left-backs in the first team squad at current, adding further unnecessary depth to an already overflowing back line would constitute poor financial management commensurate with United's already questionable spending in recent years, and surely, the club will have to make room if they are to make good on links that have persisted this summer.

United have already been regularly linked with Ajax's Jurriën Timber, David Raum, Denzel Dumfries, and a cadre of others.

Ten Hag will also want to add quality in other areas of the pitch, as well, and jettisoning a handful of defenders unfit for service under his command could certainly provide funds that could immediately go back into securing deals for potential defensive upgrades to help the club get back on track in the Premier League.

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