Why Manchester United should not pay over the odds for Robin Le Normand
However, it has been claimed that the Red Devils would prefer to wait until next summer before firming up their interest in the Frenchman. Le Normand signed a new contract with Sociedad last year and the La Liga club are not willing to entertain offers below his mammoth £67million release clause. (Grada 3 h/t Express)
Robin Le Normand started his career with French club Brest, where he largely featured for the reserves in the fifth tier. After making just a solitary appearance in Ligue 2, the centre-back was snapped up by Real Sociedad in the summer of 2016.
He was initially assigned to the reserve team and went on to make 82 appearances in the Segunda Division B over three seasons. Le Normand made his first-team breakthrough in the La Liga during the 2018-19 campaign, starting only thrice in his debut season.
The Frenchman established himself in a more prominent role last term and played 31 times in the La Liga as Sociedad finished 6th and qualified for the Europa League. Le Normand has gone from strength to strength this season, racking up 23 appearances in all competitions already.
Le Normand has been an integral part of a Sociedad backline that boasts one of the best defensive records in Spain this season. In fact, he was central to the club’s sparkling start to the campaign that saw them emerge as the surprise league leaders at one stage.
Is he worth the asking price?
Man United’s backline looked quite solid in the recent goalless draw against Liverpool but they have had their fair share of struggles at the back this season. While Harry Maguire has been among the standout performers, Victor Lindelof has often lacked consistency.
Eric Bailly has also stepped up to help the Red Devils preserve clean sheets in wins over Everton, Wolves and Burnley in the Premier League since the start of the December. Meanwhile, Axel Tuanzebe remains the fourth-choice centre-back for Solskjaer following the exit of Timothy Fosu-Mensah earlier.
With Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones both axed from the PL squad this season, Man United should definitely look to freshen up things at the back next summer. The club’s interest in Robin Le Normand, to that end, certainly makes sense in footballing terms.
Having said that, however, it’s worth pondering whether the Frenchman is really worth Sociedad’s audacious £67million valuation. The 24-year-old has established himself as a quality defender in the La Liga over the past 18 months and still has his best years ahead of him.
But with just 68 first-team appearances for Sociedad under his belt, it’s hard to envisage United paying that kind of money to bring him to Old Trafford.
Indeed, there are better options around in the market if United are genuinely looking to bolster their defence. The Red Devils have also been linked with Argentine international Facundo Medina and RB Leipzig sensation Dayot Upamecano, who is expected to be available for a much cheaper price next summer.
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United’s interest in Robin Le Normand strikes the right chords but they should only push for a deal if Sociedad agree to lower their financial demands.