Paul Merson says Manchester United should have looked at bringing in new Everton defender Conor Coady to help out captain Harry Maguire, who he said “can’t run”.
He outlined how Erik ten Hag would see the best of his skipper in a back three, with Coady stepping out of defence to ‘sweep’ up loose balls. The Wolves defender secured a season-long loan move at Goodison Park this week.
He has played alongside Maguire for England on two occasions, most recently in the 1-0 Nations League loss to Hungary in June. The other time they played together, in October 2020, Maguire was sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Denmark.
But despite this record, Merson believes Coady would have benefited the United defender’s game. He added that, instead, the players the club are targeting make them look like they are “shopping in Primark.”
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “They [ United ] should’ve been going for Conor Coady. They need to go to three at the back. Maguire can’t run so you need to play a five at the back.
“Play him in a three and he’s a very good player, he comes out with the ball he can pass it. When he plays in a four he can’t go and engage because if he gets in a one-on-one he’s going to struggle.
“Put Coady in there and he’s an out and out sweeper then you don’t have to play [Scott] McTominay and Fred in the team because you’ve got your insurance.”
Describing the situation in his Daily Star column, he wrote: “United should be shopping in Harrods, not Primark for players like Marko Arnautovic.
“I’m not surprised the fans kicked up a fuss about that and got the club to think again because Arnautovic is not good enough for United.”