Down The Wings

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Scout Report: Who is Alessandro Bastoni?

(Photo by Mattia Ozbot – Inter/Inter via Getty Images)

Manchester United are keen to add a centre-back to their squad this summer and have been linked to a host of names to potentially fill that role with the latest being Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni.

Date of Birth: 13/04/1999 (23)
Position: Centre-Back
Strong Foot: Left
Height: 1.90 m (6ft 2in)

Who is Alessandro Bastoni?

Bastoni is a 23-year-old centre-back currently plying his trade at Inter Milan. The Italian began his career at Atalanta before making the switch to Inter in June 2018. When he arrived at Inter, he was immediately loaned out to Parma, who were also in Serie A at the time, where he spent the 2018/19 season on loan.

He returned to Inter for the 2019/20 season and has gone to become one of their most important players and was a crucial part of their 2020/21 title-winning side. His performances for Inter earned him a spot in the Italian National team. He made his debut for his country in November 2020 and has since made another 12 appearances for Italy.

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Bastoni looks set to depart Inter this summer with Spurs manager Antonio Conte keen on bringing him to north London. However, according to Italian reporter Gianluca Di Marzio, Spurs are yet to formulate a precise offer for Bastoni and United have now made a move for the Italian centre-back.

Strengths

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United seem to be looking for a relatively young ball-playing centre-back this summer and Bastoni fits that profile perfectly.

The Italian defender had a pass completion rate of 90% in Serie A last season. He’s also got a good passing range as he completed nearly 70% of his attempted long balls. He is also brilliant at progressing the play. Over the last year, he’s averaged 3.78 progressive passes as well as 4.56 progressive carries per 90 minutes played.

As well as his brilliant ability on the ball, Bastoni is also a decent tackler and competent aerially having won 62% of his aerial duels in Serie A last season. His decision making and positional awareness are also impressive attributes of his game.

Weaknesses

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While Bastoni has very few weaknesses to his game, the main concern would be if he’d be able to perform in Ten Hag’s system. Ten Hag usually utilises a 4-2-3-1 system and for the majority of his career, Bastoni has played in a back three. The Italian has very little experience in a back four only having played in one for Italy and at times during his loan spell at Parma.

However, Bastoni’s attributes on their own, especially his brilliant ability on the ball, would fit Ten Hag’s style of play brilliantly.

Where would he fit in?

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If Bastoni was to sign for United, he’d likely be used as a rotational player as United’s go-to centre-back pairing will probably be Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane. However, when he does play, he’d be used as a left-sided centre-back alongside either Maguire or Varane.

It’s not totally impossible though that Bastoni could establish himself as Ten Hag’s first choice centre-back over the course of the season as Raphael Varane has had many injury problems since arriving in Manchester and only time will tell whether Harry Maguire will return to his best next season or continue with his poor form.

Verdict

Bastoni would be an astute signing for Ten Hag’s side. Reports claim that the Italian would cost around £50m, which is around the same price as the likes of Ajax’s Jurriën Timber and Villarreal’s Pau Torres, who are also on United’s radar.

United seem keen to bring in a left-footed ball-playing centre-back this summer with the club having been linked to Pau Torres, Lisandro Martinez, David Carmo and Joško Gvardiol. The only exception is Jurriën Timber who fits the profile of being great on the ball but he is right-footed.

It’s not yet certain whether United will beat Spurs in the race to sign the Italian centre-back but what is certain is that whoever gets him is getting a quality player.

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