Man United want this £35m defender for ‘good reason’ – Van Gaal to bolster back?

first_imgMan United are set for a busy summer of spending, with defence one position set to be strengthened. Here, WhoScored.com run the rule over transfer target, Nicolas Otamendi.With the domestic seasons drawing to a close in Europe’s top five leagues, speculation over the big transfer this summer is set to go into overdrive.And the Premier League had barely reached its conclusion before Manchester United were linked with a big-money move for Valencia’s star centre-back Otamendi.After Mats Hummels insisted he wouldn’t be signing for United, interest has reportedly moved to Otamendi, who established himself as one the best centre-backs in La Liga this season.The Argentine’s 7.59 WhoScored.com rating was the best of all central defenders and put him seventh overall in Spain’s top tier. His performances have attracted widespread interest from the biggest clubs on the continent, though it appears United are leading the race for his signature.Louis van Gaal’s side have already secured the acquisition of Memphis Depay from PSV and look to be hell bent on landing their biggest targets early this transfer window. Next on the United radar appears to be defensive reinforcements and Otamendi has been targeted for good reason.Only Lionel Messi (25) and Cristiano Ronaldo (17) earned more WhoScored.com man of the match awards than the Valencia defender (7) in La Liga this term, reinforcing what was a superb debut campaign in Spain.Understandably, Los Che would be loathe to losing their prized defender, who has formed a solid centre-back partnership with Shkodran Mustafi. Otamendi’s ability to be in the right place at the right time to clear impending danger is perhaps his strongest asset.The Argentina international made more clearances (258) than any other player in La Liga this campaign, while the number of headed clearances he made (182) was also the most in Spain’s top tier.Such a no-nonsense approach to defending has understandably attracted the interest of the biggest teams in Europe. However, his ability to clear the ball from danger – though a strong point to his game – is not all the Argentine is famed for. The 27-year-old is a composed centre-back when needed, capable of playing the ball out from the back, which would appeal to Van Gaal and his patient approach implemented at Old Trafford.Otamendi averaged 44.6 passes per game in Spain this season and maintained a respectable pass success rate of 80.3 per cent. There is room for improvement in this department, but Van Gaal has proven that, given time, he can improve a player’s ability with the ball at his feet. Chris Smalling, for example, has looked a far more capable centre-back with the Dutchman at the United helm and it’s reasonable to suggest he can do similar with Otamendi.An average of 2.9 tackles and 3.1 interceptions per game further accentuate his defensive ability, while an average of 3.5 aerial duels won per game, which ranks among the top 10 in Spain, reinforces why one of his strengths on WhoScored.com is in aerial duels. This facet of his game would come in handy for United at the other end of the pitch, much like it did for Valencia.Five of Otamendi’s six league goals this campaign were headers; only Ronaldo, on 12, has netted more in La Liga.“If he [Otamendi] wants to go he will have to come to the club, not an agent, and pay what the club decide he is worth, which is €50m at least,” Valencia president Amadeo Salvo said via Twitter. Los Che are adamant they will not sell their star centre-back on the cheap and for good reason given his influential displays at the heart of their defence this season.Nevertheless, United are clearly keen to bolster at the back and have money to spend this summer in a bid to return to the summit of England’s top tier. With Depay confirmed, they would be wise to do all they can to secure the services of Otamendi if they wish to strengthen accordingly once the transfer window reopens.For more stats on reported Manchester United target Nicolas Otamendi, click here to view his WhoScored.com player page 1 Manchester United transfer target Nicolas Otamendi last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter A luxury landmark set

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterA luxury landmark set in the heart of a historic precinct, InterContinental Singapore is deeply rooted in the arts and cultural districts of Bugis and Bras Basah. Positioned in proximity to established historical enclaves including Arab Street and Kampong Glam as well as the bustling Waterloo and Albert Streets, guests are connected to an established network of more than 20 historical sites, national monuments, art institutions and museums. Embracing this connection to the cultural enclaves that surround the hotel, a specially curated two-hour guided Heritage Trail will be made available for all hotel guests from January 2016.Aimed at providing an experiential stay whilst showcasing the cultural and heritage aspects of Singapore, the Guided Heritage Trail is also designed in conjunction with the launch of newly renovated guestrooms and public spaces at the hotel. Paying homage to the character of the vibrant locale, the exciting journey, launched in partnership with the Society of Tourist Guides, will take guests through areas of interest in the vicinity of the hotel.Key highlights along the route include:Waterloo StreetA two-way street that stretches from Rochor Road to Bras Basah Road, the street was first named Church Street, after Thomas Church, who was resident councillor during the year of its construction. It was later renamed in 1858, and converted into a pedestrian mall to ease the problem traffic along the street, where many renowned religious landmarks currently stand today. These landmarks include the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, which features a hallmark of traditional Chinese temple courtyard architecture, first built during the Japanese occupation and the Sri Krishnan Temple which was established in 1870. Both temples are known for their intricate façade architecture.Albert StreetForming the junction of several streets, Albert Street started off as an unnamed side road in the early days of Singapore, before it was later built up extensively and named after Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria in 1858. Originally lined with low, two-storeyed shophouses up till April 1981, Albert Street used to be known for the variety of food served till the early hours of the morning, alongside the vibrant night life scene. Today, the street serves as a pedestrian mall peppered with a trail of bazaar stalls and is no longer open to traffic. Trishaws, a common mode of transportation in the past, is a common sight along Albert Street today.National Design CentreThe National Design Centre is centrally located in the arts and cultural district in the Bras Basah-Bugis area. Formerly occupied by the St. Anthony’s Convent and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, the design centre was restored in 2011 and today comprises three pre-war Art Deco blocks and one post-war Modern block which have been gazetted for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The National Design Centre is widely used as a venue for designers to hold their discussions and is at the same time an educational space that is open to the public.Church of Saints Peter and PaulThe Church of Saints Peter and Paul, established in 1869, was started by the Chinese Catholic Mission serving congregation for all Chinese dialect groups and Indian community. The church was gazetted a national monument on 10 February 2003 and was in 2006, one of the exhibition venues for the Singapore Biennale, Singapore’s first international biennale of contemporary art. Today, it is currently under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more