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Leny Yoro: France’s New Defender Who Is Chased By Real Madrid And Manchester United

Leny Yoro: France’s New Defender Who Is Chased By Real Madrid And Manchester United

Kai Iliev Kai Iliev

18-year-old Leny Yoro, the new hope of Lille, has only one year left on his contract but a plethora of proposals from top clubs. The original frontrunners were none other than Real Madrid – but Lille would love to hold on to their defensive prodigy.

As negotiations with Real Madrid cooled down, Manchester United entered the race, eager to bolster their backline. So, what makes Leny Yoro so highly coveted by Europe’s elite clubs?

Manchester United’s Plan B

Manchester United was initially not involved in bidding for the eighteen-year-old defender, but Sky Sports reports that this is a consequence of the lack of agreement with Everton. 

The Mancunian club was looking to bet on Jarred Branthwaite, but their second bid of £45M was rejected (once again) by Everton, who are looking to cash in on a defender that is sought after across the country. This comes as no surprise, as he has been one of the highlights of the team throughout the 23/24 campaign.

Plenty of Premier Leagues are after Yoro, but Manchester United seemed to be the greatest contender. Forced to look further away, the Premier League giants didn’t look too far. It is evident that the club needs apt centre-backs, especially in the build-up. This in itself already explains why Yoro is sought after, being an athletic and exciting young defender, who has proved to be reliable at the back.

He’s among the most talented defenders in the world. Given that he only has one year left on his contract, there is no surprise in seeing Europe’s biggest clubs joining the race to sign Yoro. This would be Lille’s last chance to receive some cash from his exit.

Two Different Strategies

The contrasting approaches of Real Madrid and Manchester United in pursuing Leny Yoro highlight their distinct strategies. Real Madrid initiated their pursuit of the young talent earlier, inquiring about a possible transfer. 

They prefer to wait for Leny Yoro’s contract to run down (there’s only one year left) and then secure him on a free deal in 2025.

There is no sense of immediacy. Real Madrid is confident they can find interim solutions. Florentino Perez’s desire to purchase a new centre back isn’t surprising for Spanish fans, especially since Nacho has announced his departure, leaving a gap in Real Madrid’s centre-back depth. 

Nonetheless, the club believes they can manage for one season without immediate reinforcements.

On the other hand, Manchester United cannot afford to wait another full year before investing in a defender. This sense of immediacy is why Leny Yoro has been more strongly linked with Manchester United in recent weeks, despite Real Madrid being the first to express interest in the young defender. 

This would also motivate Lille to deal with the Mancunians, as they know that they would receive more money from the transfer than Real Madrid would offer. 

Why He’s Sought After

Football has become very athletic nowadays, which explains why big clubs are coming for Leny Yoro. At 1m88, Yoro is not only tall but also remarkably comfortable on the ball. This modern requirement allows teams to counter-press schemes effectively by eliminating weaknesses in their backline.

For Real Madrid, Leny Yoro would perfectly with compatriots like Kylian Mbappé, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni. These players share a similar profile: athletic, physically imposing, and technically adept. 

Yoro’s addition would bolster their defense with a player who fits their multi-purpose mould, improving both their physical and technical dimensions.

While Yoro has faced criticism for his aerial abilities, proper coaching can develop this area. Often, aerial prowess hinges on technical skills that may not be fully addressed at the youth level. And for Yoro, this means Champions League football. What more does one need?

At Manchester United, Yoro might not find as many French teammates, but the allure of Premier League football speaks for itself. It’s no secret that La Liga is not dominating the viewership, and Manchester United comes with this simple argument: Premier League. They would probably also pay more than enough money in agent commissions and salaries. 

Manchester United remains an enticing destination despite recent managerial inconsistencies due to its history and fanbase. 

The competition between Lille, Real Madrid, and Manchester United underscores Yoro’s high demand. Yoro will face a significant leap in his career wherever he lands, but his readiness for the next step is widely recognized.

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