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Manchester United lack a top-class right-back. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has his defensive qualities but lacks in attack and has been out of the team for periods this term. In his place Diogo Dalot has also fared well defensively but without setting the world alight offensively, having yet to register a goal or an assist.

Rivals Manchester City (with Kyle Walker or Joao Cancelo), Liverpool (with Trent Alexander-Arnold) and Chelsea (with Reece James) by contrast all have immense attacking quality in the same position.

All have been vital to their teams this season with Alexander-Arnold on a league-high 10 assists, James’ injury-enforced absence sorely felt by Chelsea and Cancelo sublime for City, whether at right-back or left-back.

At United neither Wan-Bissaka or Dalot appear capable of becoming as effective an attacking full-back as those four, which explains their previous interest in Kieran Trippier, who joined Newcastle last month.

But there is a player who has made a huge impression this season in the Premier League, and has a massive future, who can provide the answer for the Red Devils – Southampton’s Toni Livramento.

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Signed for just £5million from Chelsea last summer, Livramento has been brilliant in his 20 league appearances for Southampton and was even nominated for the Player of the Month award in October.

The 19-year-old’s record may only read one goal and two assists but he is an impressive full-back who can dribble well and create chances from open play. Importantly he also wins plenty of his duels and wins possession back frequently.

He’s influential on the ball but also off of it, and is still at the start of his career, with the potential to become one of the very best in the league in the coming years.

Despite that, he’s impressed on the big stage, including with a brilliant home debut against United when he was named Man of the Match. He also excelled against Manchester City in September in a 0-0 draw at the Etihad.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has labelled him a “serious player” while Theo Walcott even compared the England under-21 international to Gareth Bale, with whom Walcott came through the Saints’ academy.

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He said: “Do you know what, he reminds me a little bit of Gareth when he came through as a full-back. That’s a big statement of course to compare him to someone like that.

“But I just feel like his presence and the way he drives and the pace and the power and it’s no surprise that you know what he’s going to do.

He is a key player but the Saints have already indicated they would be open to selling, having frequently let go of their best performers since their top-flight return in 2012, with United’s Luke Shaw one of them in 2014.

Chief executive Martin Semmens admitted recently: “If you don’t let Tino Livramento go to Liverpool one day when they come in for him, then the next one doesn’t come in.”

Southampton’s willingness to sell might mean he could be signed for a cheaper fee than someone like Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey.

If United do decide a new right-back is a priority this summer, they could do a lot worse than raid Southampton for the homegrown Livramento, who Chelsea were undoubtedly gutted to lose given his promise.

Seeing their former academy talent tearing it up for one of their big rivals would only make them feel worse, regardless of the fact they’ve got James.





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