It has been confirmed by Manchester United that defender Luke Shaw will be out of action for “a number of weeks” following a muscular injury.
The Dutch boss will be scratching his head at how to deal with the loss of one of his best defenders for the important upcoming weeks in United’s season following a slow start to the Premier League campaign.
His first, and most likely option will be to move Diogo Dalot across to the left. He looks to be second-choice to Aaron Wan-Bissaka at this moment but has previously played on the left-hand side, particularly during his loan spell at AC Milan.
The Portuguese defender scored a brilliant goal against Nottingham Forest last term when playing in the position and is comfortable inverting into midfield, which is something that was tasked of Shaw in the opening two games of the season.
A slightly more rouge option for Ten Hag could be to introduce Alvaro Fernandez to the side. The 19-year-old impressed in the Championship on loan with Preston North End last term and also looked sharp when playing in pre-season.
His offensive game is already excellent. The Spaniard is extremely comfortable carrying the ball, even when coming infield, and is able to whip in dangerous crosses – as we saw for his assist against Wrexham in pre-season.
However, the defensive side of his game can still improve and would likely be an area of concern for the United boss.
Nevertheless, Fernandez will definitely be an option for The Reds and the injury to Shaw makes it seem very unlikely he leaves the club at all in the last weeks of the transfer market.
It is also possible that Lisandro Martinez is trialed in the position in a time where centre-backs playing out wide is not so uncommon anymore.
We’ve seen both Arsenal and Manchester City excel with the likes of Nathan Ake and Ben White playing as full-backs. However, the main thing to consider with Martinez is that you’d be losing him in the middle if he played on the left.
Victor Lindelof is a solid understudy at the back, but Ten Hag values his left-sided centre-back being left-footed highly for various reasons.
Martinez would excel the most out of the three at inverting into the middle, however. But, it remains the unlikeliest move strictly because Ten Hag needs him starting in a partnership with Raphael Varane.
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