How can United benefit from Tyrell Malacia?

Manchester United kick-started their transfer window with the official announcement of Tyrell Malacia on 6th July 2022. He signed a four-year deal with an option to extend for another year. The 22-year-old Dutch defender was on his way to Lyon until United ‘hijacked’ him for a higher price. Finally, Erik ten Hag can tick him off the list. Malacia joined Feyenoord’s academy in 2008; he began his professional career at the club. In addition, he has represented the Netherlands through the years, playing at the youth level. Tyrell Malacia made his senior international debut against Montenegro in 2021.

Manchester United signed Tyrell Malacia from the Eredivisie side, Feyenoord.
(credit: United’s Communications Department)

As a left-back, Tyrell Malacia would look to provide competition for Luke Shaw, Alex Telles, and Brandon Williams. But there has to be something special about Malacia for United to play their cards to swipe him. What does he bring to this Manchester United squad? Let’s look at his qualities.


Erik ten Hag’s system places several demands on left-backs; one such is versatility. And Malacia fits perfectly in that system since he is a talented left full-back and wing-back. The United manager’s system revolves around a quick, fluid, and possession-oriented game; one can observe this in Ajax’s playing style. So, for the team to have balance off and on the ball, one full-back ought to stay high and wide. Meanwhile, the other becomes inverted, serving as an additional midfielder. As seen in his time at Feyenoord, Tyrell Malacia can conveniently do both.

Malacia’s versatility makes him unique. (credit: United’s Communications Department)

In addition to his positional versatility, Malacia could be a solution to United’s full-back issues. The standing full-backs are only adept at either defending or attacking. For instance, Luke Shaw is more grounded offensively— the same could be said about Alex Telles. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s strength lies in neat tackling; though he has improved offensively, ‘average’ is not enough. However, Tyrell Malacia could be the panacea to that challenge since his offensive and defensive displays are excellent. He gets involved in open play as well as makes vital tackles.

Last season, Malacia ranked 5th among players who made successful tackles.


Tyrell Malacia’s technicality cannot be overemphasised, thanks to one of his noticeable features— pace. His pace on the ball makes him a threat to any team offensively and defensively. He anticipates danger and acts quickly, preventing the opposition team’s counter. The success of his overlapping runs also stems from his pace; hence, he effortlessly provides options for his teammates. Malacia’s pace also enables him to make transitions and fall back in position when required.

Tyrell Malacia in comparison with other defenders. (credit: Squawka)


Another aspect of his technicality is his strength. At the Netherlands, he earned the nickname ‘pitbull’ because of his aggressiveness. It is a crucial part of his playing style, making him retain the ball at will. Smarterscout’s rating suggests that Malacia’s ball retention rate during the 2019-20 Europa League tournament was 83/100. And that ability can help him to dictate the flow of the match. It can also improve the team’s possession. In addition to his aggression, he is an adept dribbler. He completed more take-ons than any other defender in the Eredivisie last season.

Progressive passing

Due to his pace and aggression, Malacia’s ability to move the ball up the field is off the charts. He can make accurate long-range passes, move the ball into the final third, and play through balls deep in the opposition’s half. So, he does create chances for his teammates. He should develop an excellent on-pitch bond with United’s offensive machines in no time.

Malacia made 653 final-third passes last season. (credit: Squawka)

The takeaway

The above are a few of several unique qualities Tyrell Malacia possesses. And he still has to improve in some aspects of his game; it should not be an issue as Erik ten Hag has a fantastic track record of developing young players. A tremendous pre-season awaits the Red Devils. Will the first signing of the new era make his mark?

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Author: Eghons Azeke

My name is Eghonghon. I am a fun-loving, hardworking and self-motivated writer who supports the biggest club in the world!

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