Man Utd told they made a ‘huge mistake’ by not signing a centre-back in Van Dijk claim

Manchester United made a huge mistake by not signing a centre-back in the summer transfer window, and the decision highlights the club’s incompetence. That’s the view of ESPN pundit Julien Laurens, who believes the Red Devils should have done whatever it took to sign a new centre-back.

United ended up weakening their options at centre-back this summer after allowing Chris Smalling to leave.

The English defender signed for AS Roma after a successful loan spell last year, with United receiving a fee in the region of £15million.

Despite offloading the 30-year-old and shifting 11 goals in their opening four Premier League games, United opted against signing a new centre-back to replace the outgoing Smalling.

Instead, they focused their transfer efforts further up the pitch, with Edinson Cavani, Amad Traore, Facundo Pellistri and Donny van de Beek all signing.

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They signed left-back Alex Telles from Porto in a deal worth up to £18m, but decided against forking out for a new central defender.

They were linked with Dayot Upamecano earlier in the window, but opted not to pursue a deal after being told he would cost north of £59m.

But Laurens believes the Reds should have paid whatever they had to in order to sign a new centre-back, even if it meant paying over the odds.

He compared their situation to that of Liverpool when the Reds bought Virgil van Dijk for £75m, and explained that taking the risk and paying big is worth it in the long run.

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Laurens said on ESPN FC: “I think it’s terrible, a huge failure, and a disgrace. I think, again, it’s a sign of incompetence.

“Sometimes you have to over-pay. I think Liverpool over-paid at the time for Virgil van Dijk.

“He wasn’t worth the price they paid and nobody at that time could have put your house on him becoming the best.

“Of course they overpaid, and United could have overpaid for Upamecano thinking he isn’t worth £75million now, but he could be in two years time or a year.

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“Sometimes that’s just the way it is and you have to overpay.

“PSG over-paid for Kylian Mbappe, that’s just the way it is. Now he’s worth that money, same with Virgil van Dijk.

“I don’t buy the excuse that they didn’t want to overpay. Maybe it was the same for Jadon Sancho as well, but I think it’s a huge mistake they didn’t sign a proper centre-back.

“I can easily see them being haunted by the fact they’ll be stuck for six months with Maguire, Bailly and Lindelof.”

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