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Manuel Akanji linked with Manchester United move

(Photo by Mareen Meyer/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images)

According to reports, Manchester United have identified Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji as a potential signing for the summer with Sport1 journalist Patrick Berger claiming the Red Devils have a concrete offer to Akanji.

Date of Birth: 19/07/1995 (26)

Position: Centre-Back

Strong Foot: Right

Height: 1,88 m (6ft 2in)

Who is he?

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Manuel Akanji is a Swiss centre-back currently playing for the German club, Borussia Dortmund. Akanji began his career at Swiss club Winterthur and then made the switch to FC Basel in 2015. After 2 and a half years at Basel, he left Switzerland for Germany and joined Borussia Dortmund, where he plays now, for a fee in the region of €21 million.

After 4 years at Dortmund, Akanji’s time in Germany could be coming to an end. According to Patrick Berger, Man United are very keen on signing Akanji and the Swiss defender has rejected the most recent contract offer from Dortmund to extend his contract, which expires in June 2023. BILD have reported that United have already offered Akanji, a self-confessed Manchester United fan, a 4-year contract. Dortmund reportedly value Akanji at €30 million.


One of Akanji’s biggest strengths is that he’s very good on the ball. He’s able to get the ball forward from the back. In the last years, he averages 4.86 progressive carries per game as well as 3.94 progressive passes per game. He’s also a very good passer and has a pass completion rate of 90% in the Bundesliga this season. In addition to that, he is also a decent dribbler and tackler.

He’s also decent aerially. This season in the Bundesliga, he’s won 2.1 aerial duels per game which a success rate of 62%. Another good attribute to his game is his pace. His brilliant decision making and being good positionally mean he rarely gets caught out of position, but in the few instances he does, his pace helps him recover. He’s also very good at pressing with one of the highest pressure success rates in Europe.


Akanji doesn’t have any major weaknesses in his game. When he joined Dortmund from Basel, he had a really rough start which led people to question his ability but over time, he’s improved a lot and has shown that he’s capable. The biggest concern regarding Akanji is his injury record. He suffered a serious leg injury at Basel which kept him out for 10 months. While he hasn’t had any major injuries at Dortmund, he has had some recurring issues with his knee and hip.

Where would he fit in at United?

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If United were to sign Akanji, he probably wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter. What Akanji would do is add great depth to the centre-back position. At the moment, United have 5 first team centre-backs with captain Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane being the main centre-back pairing. The other 3 are Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones. While Lindelof, who some fans believe should be starting ahead of Maguire at the moment, is a good back-up, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are regularly unavailable due to injuries. Bringing in someone like Akanji who’s solid and can be relied upon regularly would definitely be a good piece of business.


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While signing Akanji would be a good addition to the squad, United will probably have bigger priorities this summer as United will look to finally fill the void in defensive midfield. Rangnick has also said that it’s obvious United will need to bring in a striker as Edinson Cavani looks set to leave when his contract expires.

In addition, United’s Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi will both return from their loan spells at Napoli and Birmingham at the end of the season. Some may prefer to give Tuanzebe or Mengi a chance instead of spending €30 million on a squad player.

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