By Dave Marshall
Jose Mourinho has reportedly supported a move for Jerome Boateng, according to the Daily Express.
Although on paper we had a reasonable defensive record last season – keeping 19 clean sheets, more than any Premier League sides. However, eight of those came in the 13 games in which we got 90 minutes out of key centre-back Eric Bailly, who missed a large chunk of the season through injury.
When he was absent, Mourinho struggled to find an ideal pairing. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were both guilty of lacking concentration and making poor decisions, so in plenty of games we relied on the match-winning qualities of David De Gea.
While it is great to have one of the best ‘club’ goalkeepers in the world, who bailed us out in December’s 3-1 win at Arsenal, that overreliance is not sustainable if we are to mount a serious title challenge.
Boateng, for a start, would take some of the burden off De Gea due to his excellent reading of the game, his aerial ability and experience; but he would also bring plenty more to the table.
Smalling and Jones didn’t look especially comfortable on the ball last season, which was part of the reason why we struggled for creativity from deep when Paul Pogba was denied space.
The prospect of asking a centre-back to create might seem questionable to the more traditional fan but, as much as we dislike City, they have shown the direction of the modern game.
Boateng has unerring composure and a unique range of passing, which only a small selection of players in world football can match.
Those qualities have seen Boateng amass 33 appearances for Bayern Munich last season in both the Bundesliga and Champions League.
He is currently at the World Cup and although his side lost to Mexico, he played a key part in their late rally by moving well into the opposing half to sustain pressure and link play with the midfielders.
Late on in games if his team needs a goal, he is comfortable moving well into the opposing half to sustain pressure.
Boateng’s arrival, after the additions of Fred and Diogo Dalot, would be a positive step – but with Real Madrid reportedly interested, we would have to act quickly.