Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United tenure is almost upon us. According to reports, he has already identified Feyenoord’s Tyrell Malacia as a potential target this summer.
Date of Birth: 17/08/1999 (21)
Strong Foot: Left
Height: 1,69 m (5ft 6in)
Who is Tyrell Malacia?
Malacia is a Dutch left-back currently playing for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie. He’s been at Feyenoord for the entirety of his professional career and has worked his way up to becoming one of their most important players. Malacia’s performances for Feyenoord earned him a place in the Dutch squad and he made his debut in September 2021.Embed from Getty Images
It looks likely that Malacia will depart Feyenoord this summer with rumours linking him to a move away from Rotterdam. New Man United boss Ten Hag is reportedly a big admirer of Malacia and reportedly attempted to sign the youngster for Ajax but was unable to due to the massive rivalry between Feyenoord and Ajax.
According to the Mirror, Ten Hag wants to sign Malacia and an offer of around £20m would tempt the Rotterdam based club into selling after two financially difficult years following the pandemic.
Defensively, Malacia is an outstanding left-back. One of his biggest strengths is his tackling. He averages 2.7 tackles per 90 in the Eredivisie this season – ranking him amongst the best in the competition. He also reads the game really well and has very good positional awareness.Embed from Getty Images
Another one of his strengths is his ability on the ball. In the Eredivisie this season, he’s completed 85% of his attempted passes. He also has a good passing range and has completed 56% of his attempted long balls in the Eredivisie this season. His explosive pace and skillfulness are 2 other impressive attributes to his game.
While Malacia isn’t terrible going forward, it is certainly an area he could improve in. So far this season, he’s only managed one goal and four assists in the Eredivisie, certainly something he could improve. With that said though, he has been let down by his teammates a little bit. He has created 8 big chances in the Eredivisie this season which is the same amount as AZ Alkmaar left-back Owen Wijndal. However, Wijndal has nine assists, five more than Malacia. While Malacia does need to improve going forward, his stats this season do underplay his attacking ability.
With his explosive pace and very good dribbling ability, if he can improve his end product, he could become a formidable attacking left-back.
Where would he fit in at United?Embed from Getty Images
When Manchester United signed Alex Telles from Porto in September 2020, most fans were very excited with the arrival of the Brazilian left-back. However, nearly two years later, it’s fair to say the Telles’ time at the club has been underwhelming. While he didn’t get much game time last season, he has made 24 appearances this season and has struggled to make a positive impact.
It’s now possible that the Brazilian will leave the club this summer which would make way for the potential signing of a new left-back. If Malacia was to join United, he’d give Luke Shaw competition for the left-back spot and at only 21, he’d hopefully become United’s first-choice left-back in the next few years.Embed from Getty Images
However, it’s important to remember that United do still have Brandon Williams who’s currently on loan at Norwich. Despite what’s been another dismal season in the Premier League for the canaries, Williams’ form has been one of the bright sparks at Carrow Road this season. It could be argued that Williams should be given a chance before any new signings.
While there’s no doubting Malacia is very talented, the step up from the Eredivisie to the Premier League is a very big one. In recent times, most players who make the direct step to the Premier League from the Eredivisie have struggled. Manchester United’s last two signings from the Eredivisie were Memphis Depay and Donny van de Beek. While van de Beek is still at the club and could potentially revive his United career next season under Ten Hag, both have struggled to find their best form in England. Other examples of this are the likes of Davy Klassen and Hakim Ziyech who were both outstanding in Amsterdam but struggled to make an impact at Everton and Chelsea respectively.
For Malacia, such a big step at such a young age and with all the added pressure that comes with playing for United, a move to Old Trafford this summer might be too much too soon for the youngster. However, if Ten Hag wants Malacia, United should get behind their new manager and back him. There’s no doubting the 21-year-old’s quality but if United sign him, they must ensure that he’s nurtured correctly and give him the time he needs to settle in.