According to reports in France, Manchester United are considering a shock move for French centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou. The defender’s contract with Borussia Dortmund expired at the end of June 2022 and is currently a free agent.
Dan-Axel Zagadou joined the German side from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 at the age of 18. He has been a mainstay for the Bundesliga outfit since his arrival. However, in the 2021/22 season, the Dortmund number 5 played just 15 league games (stats via Transfermarkt). This shock decrement in minutes played comes as no surprise.
The Frenchman underwent knee surgery in the March 2021 which rendered him unable to play for more than 6 months. Post that, the defender continued struggling with game-time after contracting the coronavirus and then suffering another injury in February this year. Zagadou did eventually recover from his injuries and featured for the last few sets of games for Dortmund.
The rebuild at the Old Trafford is on and the club are looking to overhaul their squad before the beginning of next season. New boss Erik ten Hag is already close to signing Frenkie de Jong and Tyrell Malacia this summer, but he is still looking for a new centre-back to add depth to the position that has received harsh criticism in the previous season.
According to French outlet Foot Mercato (via The Daily Express), Manchester United have registered an interest in signing Dan-Axel Zagadou this summer on a free transfer. The French centre-back is set to embark on a new challenge and have ‘aroused’ the interest of the Red Devils.
Despite failing to fulfill his potential at the Old Trafford, the former Borussia Dortmund defender is still just 23-years-old and possesses a high ceiling to grow into an imposing figure at any big club. Ten Hag is known for his ability to develop young players into elite footballers, and perhaps, Dan-Axel Zagadou can become such an example at Manchester United.
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However, several European clubs have shown interest in securing the defender’s services. The report states that Ligue 1 club OGC Nice are also looking to acquire the Frenchman’s services after becoming a free agent. The player himself has expressed his wish to play again in France and that could prove to be a detracting factor in the hunt for a defender for the Red Devils.
In a recent interview with beIN Sports, he told the outlet (via Express):
“A return to Ligue 1? Sure. In addition, I went abroad very young, so it would do me good to return to France. Everything is possible, I don’t put up any barriers.”.
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United had been targeting Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez but Arsenal are looking battle to sign the Argentine defender. Martinez plays on the left side of the defence and is relatively on the smaller side for a centre-back. Pairing him with a 5’6” Tyrell Malacia wouldn’t make a lot of sense for United either.
Meanwhile, interests in Ajax’s Jurrien Timber and Villarreal’s Pau Torres seem to have cooled down recently. It is seemingly a risk to sign a defender who hasn’t been able to perform in the Bundesliga and throw him in the mix in arguably the toughest league in the world, the Premier League.
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