Gary Neville proved right as Man Utd miss chance to copy Liverpool transfer

West Brom v Man Utd: Match in pictures

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Victor Lindelof’s error for West Bromwich Albion’s goal against Manchester United has proven a Gary Neville prediction right. United remain weak at the back, with a series of errors highlighting their defensive fragilities, while target Dayot Upamecano has snubbed a move to Old Trafford in favour of staying in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.

Neville warned the Red Devils last June that they needed to replicate Liverpool and sign a Virgil van Dijk-esque defender, with his prediction that they would not win the Premier League without an elite defender seemingly confirmed.

The reigning Premier League champions paid out £75million to bring in van Dijk from Southampton, with the Dutchman transforming the Reds’ defence, helping them to win both the Champions League and the English top flight.

United had hoped that Harry Maguire would have the same impact on their defence that van Dijk had on Liverpool, but that has not proved to be the case. They are now seven points behind league leaders Manchester City having played a game more.

In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men look increasingly vulnerable defensively, after costly errors from Maguire against Everton and Lindelof against West Brom.

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Before this season started, Neville revealed that he thought United still needed to add an elite centre-back to their squad.

“I think one more signing,” Neville told Premier League Daily.

“You think about Liverpool signing [Virgil] Van Dijk and Alisson in goal. One or two more signings or [Paul] Pogba and one more signing playing to their absolute best. I think United can get closer.”

When asked what position in particular, Neville answered: “Centre-back, you look at the impact Van Dijk had.

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“Maguire has had a really strong impact but another real strong centre-back. They’ve still got to be defensively sound. One more signing and United can challenge.”

Lindelof provided more evidence that he is not the man to solve United’s defensive woes when he was caught out by a cross from Conor Gallagher.

The Swede appeared to misread the flight of the ball which allowed Mbaye Diagne to get ahead of him and head past David De Gea for the game’s opening goal.

Neville blasted Lindelof for his role in United conceding the first goal for the eighth time in 12 Premier League away games this season.

“They don’t shift, Lindelof, Maguire. It’s a brilliant ball in. Diagne attacks it really well. He mauls Lindelof and heads it brilliantly past De Gea,” Neville said.

One man United were believed to be targeting to solve their problems at the back was RB Leipzig defender Upamecano.

The Frenchman has impressed in the Bundesliga this season, and has a £38m release clause in his contract that will activate this summer.

But instead of turning out for United, Upamecano will remain in Germany, with Bayern confirming that they have paid the release clause and agreed a five-year contract with the 22-year-old.

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