Manchester United vs Southampton in pictures
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Paul Scholes urged Manchester United to sign then-RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano in the 2020/21 season after being left impressed by his Champions League performances. He went as far as to compare the Frenchman to Red Devils heroes Rio Ferdinand and Jaap Stam.
Upamecano faced Man United twice in the Champions League group stage that year, suffering a 5-0 mauling at Old Trafford before dumping them out with a 3-2 win in Leipzig.
The 24-year-old played a central role in the Bundesliga outfit advancing into the knockout stage, which only intensified reports that United were interested in his signature.
And Scholes hailed his talent, explaining that he offered something different to then-first-choice duo Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
He told BT Sport: “This is the type of defender I think United need. He’s very different to Maguire and Lindelof.
“He absolutely loves one-on-ones. He loves getting down that channel because he knows he’s gonna beat them. It’s very much the same as what Rio used to do, what Jaap Stam used to do.
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“It frees the rest of the team to worry about attacking play because you know you’ve got a centre-half who is going to defend, and he’ll do it all day.”
At the end of the season, Upamecano joined Bayern in a deal worth around £37million and has developed into one of Europe’s top centre-backs.
He lifted the German title in his first season in Munich before helping France reach the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar.
Bayern are one of the favourites to win this season’s Champions League after dumping out Paris Saint-Germain, which would only add to his eye-catching early resume.
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United may have missed out on Upamecano, but the M16 giants have coped well without him.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed Raphael Varane the same summer before Erik ten Hag recruited Lisandro Martinez from Ajax in his first transfer window as boss.
Together, they have formed the club’s strongest centre-back partnership since Ferdinand partnered with Nemanja Vidic at the foot of Sir Alex Ferguson’s dominant sides.
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