Premier League transfers: Here’s why Man Utd should sign Marc Cucurella

Premier League transfers: Here's why Man Utd should sign Marc Cucurella
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Manchester United have ramped up their pursuit of Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella this week in a bid to bring the Spaniard to Old Trafford on loan to ease their mounting injury crisis at left back.

United approached the Blues about a prospective temporary deal for Cucurella after Luke Shaw picked up a muscle issue that is set to keep the England international on the sidelines until December.

With Shaw’s understudy Tyrell Malacia also facing an extended spell in the treatment room, the Red Devils’ options at left back have been completely depleted and though the versatile Diogo Dalot filled in there in Saturday evening’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest, a specialist in the position has been targeted.

Discussions are ongoing between United and big-spending Chelsea over the structure of a deal for Cucurella and the defender – who the Londoners paid £55m for last year – is expected to seal his switch north before Friday.

But what kind of player are United getting? Does a move for Cucurella really make that much sense for Erik ten Hag?

Cucurella’s turbulent time at Chelsea

Marc Cucurella arrived at Chelsea from Brighton amid much fanfare in the summer of 2022 after the Blues beat off competition from Man City for his signature.

The defender had just won the Players' Player of the Season and Player of the Season at Albion thanks to his consistency and dynamic performances down the left flank and his capture was seen as a reap coup by Chelsea supporters and pundits alike.

However, after a promising start in London, Cucurella’s form waned – as did he majority of his teammates at Stamford Bridge – as Chelsea struggled to find rhythm under Thomas Tuchel.

The German’s replacement Graham Potter, who coached Cucurella at Brighton, struggled to extract performances from his players too as did his successor Frank Lampard in the final throes of the campaign.

Chelsea fans’ opinion of Cucurella deteriorated quite rapidly as ineffective displays marked with big errors made him a lighting rod for criticism.

However, in a write-off season for Chelsea, perhaps, Cucurella’s regression is easier to explain and the Spaniard will be aiming to recapture his previous form at United.

Cucurella could be a good fit for Ten Hag

While Cucurella was heavily criticised for his performances in 2022/23, it’s interesting to note that the ex-Barcelona academy starlet hit some very impressive figures across a number of metrics last term.

The 25-year-old ranked right near the top when compared to players in his position from Europe's big five leagues for passes completed (93rd percentile), progressing passes (82nd) and passes into the final third (88th), which suggests he could add some much-needed thrust from deep positions for United.

Defensively Cucurella was in the 99th percentile for tackles per 90 (3.75), while he also peaked for tackles won (94th percentile). Those strong indicators won’t have been lost on ten Hag and his recruitment department who may feel that a fresh environment in Manchester without a managerial merry-go-round could get the best out of Cucurella.

The latest reports have suggested that United are interested in taking Cucurella until the end of December, though Chelsea may push for a season-long arrangement with an obligation or option to buy.