One of the largest disappointments of the last transfer window, was United’s inability to bring in a central defender who would slot alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of defense, after neither Lindelof nor Bailly proving to be consistently good.
It has become perfectly clear that there is currently a shortage of top-class defenders on the market, meaning prices have sky-rocketed as the top sides scramble to secure the signatures of those who could transform their backline.
Other teams could only covet the kind of transformative effect Van Dijk has brought to Liverpool’s defense. The current Netherlands captain had a tremendous influence on their Premier League and Champions League runs. Ever since then, teams have been on the lookout for players of his ilk; physically dominant, pacy, ball-playing centre halfs.
Enter David Carmo; despite having only turned 21 in July, Carmo has begun to turn heads having helped Carlos Carvalhal’s side make a bright start to the new campaign, with Braga currently second in the Liga NOS table.
The young , left-footed defender was part of a highly-rated group of Portuguese youngsters that won the under-19 European Championships in 2018, playing four times in the tournament. Yet he only made to break into Braga’s first-team last February. Since then he has been a constant presence in the line-up, already making 27 appearances; eight of which have come in the current campaign.
Unsurprisingly some of the biggest teams in Europe have started to circle; with Manchester United the most heavily linked with the defender.
David Carmo stands at a whopping 6’5″. His tall frame combined with an impressive positional awareness and ability on the ball, has earned him comparisons with Van Dijk.
He’s quite the intimidating presence in the box and has won 81 % of his aerial duels this season. Even though he hasn’t scored a professional goal yet, he certainly possesses all the right tools in his locker.
His Stats this season are quite impressive, he has proved to be a very solid performer ever since his breakthrough in February. The Portuguese youngster has been successful in 91% of tackles he has made this campaign – the highest in the league. He has been shown to be an accurate passer of the ball , with an 84% pass success rate, 35% of them being forward and attacking balls, while he has completed every dribble he’s attempted.
It’s quite obvious why Solskjaer is interested in such a player with these kind of stats from the centre of defence. He seems a great cover option and could even break into the starting XI with his composure on the ball.
While it’s clear the young defender is a talented tackler and composed centre-back, his youthful exuberance occasionally manages to get the better of him, from time to time. Across a period of eight games he’s picked up five yellow cards and one straight red card. This is something he will have to keep in check , if he is to develop into a top center half in the prem, unless ofcourse he decides to follow in the footsteps our very own tough tackling and resident-marauding centre back, Marcus Rojo.
The 21-year old Portuguese prospect won’t be cheap, obviously. David Carmo, reportedly, earlier had a release clause of 20 million euros. Matters were made even worse for prospective buyers when he signed a new contract last month, which doubled the release clause to 40 million euros, which will keep him at Braga until 2025.
If Barcelona’s £27m purchase of former Braga winger Trincao in August is anything to go by, Carmo won’t leave the club for anything below their high asking price.
Roma had failed with a bid to sign the Portuguese center back. With the Giallorossi struggling to secure the permanent signing of ex-Manchester United man, Chris Smalling, they made a bid for Carmo that would have seen him initially head to Stadio Olimpico on loan, with Roma then having an obligation to buy for €15m in the summer of 2021. Despite agreeing to talks, Braga rejected the final offer, and have since offered him a new contract which doubled the existing release clause, to ensure they get a fair price for their defensive prodigy.
David Carmo is exactly the kind of signing United should be vying for, especially when we are on the lookout for able , young left-footed defenders. He could be the man to partner , Maguire in the long run. Initially he could be a solid rotation option. Given his age he might be raw and might take quite some time to find his footing in the premier league, but his abilities are there for anyone to see.
It remains to be seen if he has a Van Dijk-esque impact, but he is unlikely to be the last young star to be compared to the Dutch beast. While the demand for world class center-backs won’t be slowing anytime soon, Carmo has shown he has the potential to be one of the world’s best, whether that be at United or any other team.