Having missed out on Sergio Reguilon, who is set to be announced as Tottenham Hotspur’s latest signing to fill the void left by unfancied England international Danny Rose, FC Porto left back Alex Telles should be high on the list of Manchester United's transfer targets. The 27-year-old full back would be an ideal signing for United’s system and could potentially be signed in a cut-price deal, as the Portuguese Champions are looking at cashing in on the Brazilian, as the defender has less than a year left on his current deal at the club.
The Red Devils were right to pull the plug and allow Spurs to have a free path to sign Sergio Reguilon, as Real Madrid’s buy back clause was illogical and would’ve been an irresponsible deal for Manchester United to accept, as a club of United’s stature should never be treated as a feeder club. According to Fabrizio Romano United were unwilling to pay €30million to Real Madrid for the Spanish international and were also unwilling to cater to Real’s demand of a €40million buy back clause.
Telles has had a growing reputation in Europe having impressed at various clubs. When at Galatasaray between 2014-16 he impressed that much at the Turkish giants, that it prompted Roberto Mancini to take the Brazilian with him to Inter Milan on loan having left Galatasaray to take the hot seat at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza for the second time. There were reports in August 2015 that Inter beat Chelsea to the signature of Telles, as Jose Mourinho was looking for competition for Cesar Azpilicueta following Filipe Luis’s departure from Stamford Bridge to re-join Atletico Madrid.
During his time at Inter, Telles only played 21 league games in his loan spell and was impressing at the San Siro up until the halfway point in the season, when Roberto Mancini started making drastic changes to his line-up, which saw Yuto Nagatomo regularly feature instead of Telles, as the club faltered badly in the title race to Juventus. Having been top of the league after 18 matches, Inter didn’t just lose out in their initial title challenge, they ended up surrendering the final Champions League place (3) to AS Roma, finishing a whopping 13 points behind the club from Italy’s capital city. Mancini was sacked the following summer after being thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham in a pre-season friendly.
FC Porto pounced on the opportunity to sign the Brazilian left back from Galatasaray on a permanent transfer in the summer of 2016 for €6.5million, which has turned out to be an inspired piece of business. Telles has played 126 Liga Nos games since joining the Azuis e brancos, where he has proven himself to be a fantastic offensive full back, as he has 57 goal contributions in the league since joining. This is an area of which Manchester United lack, as Luke Shaw has 9 league assists in 156 Premier League outings since making his league debut for Southampton in November 2012 away at Swansea.
With rumoured plans to convert Shaw’s left back rival Brandon Williams to a right back due to the 19-year-old being right footed and less complimentary to Marcus Rashford’s game on the left wing as an inverted full back, it would be more than useful to have a high calibre rival to challenge Shaw week in week out, as United’s lack of width on each wing hampers their ability to break down teams who play a structured deep defensive line.
Alex Telles typically crosses from a deep position on the pitch as Porto field striker Moussa Marega up front who is a strong physical target man, however, the Brazilian full back does like to put in a lot of early crosses which would favour a more agile striker such as Anthony Martial. Telles averaged 1.9 key passes per 90 minutes last season and completed the most crosses out of any full back in Liga Nos last season with 260 completed crosses. Telles is also a very proactive full back and made on average 2 interceptions per game in Liga Nos, and averaged 1.2 tackles per game (68% success rate) which is a good amount considering he was playing for a side that won Liga Nos last season. Although Shaw is playing in a much stronger league than Telles, he only made 24 league appearances last season, averaging 1 interception per game, with 1.4 tackles per game with a success rate of 53% and provided no goals or assists in the league.
If Manchester United are to progress, then both their defensive and attacking statistics down the flanks must improve, Telles, who has a similar play style to that of Lucas Digne at Everton would be a very astute choice as he is entering the peak years of his career and would cost United around £25million to sign one of the best full backs in world football.