Manchester United are ready to cancel any offers for Tottenham star Toby Alderweireld, so the Belgium international is not going to remain as a transfer target. But that does not mean that United will stop to test the market.
Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho already has five centre-backs at his disposal: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo. And considering he’s looking to add a sixth – without any intention of giving anyone up unless one of them asks to leave – there is no question that United need to dip into the market.
These are some alternatives that might be worth pursuing for The Red Devils in the coming weeks.
By all accounts, Varane is Mourinho’s prefered option to improve the team’s defensive line. However, he will be quite expensive, and plays for Real Madrid, a club that is not known for letting go of their young assets just like that. And he is only 25 years old, so he still has a few seasons left before reaching his prime. In other words, the chances of him coming to Old Trafford are slim to none.
If Mourinho can’t get Varane, then Boateng wouldn’t be a bad alternative. The Germany international and Bayern Munich star knows what is like to play at the highest level, has plenty of Champions League experience and is also 29 years old, which means he is right on his prime. He wouldn’t be as expensive as Varane – although that doesn’t mean he will be a cheap player – and knowing Bayern’s depth on defence, The Red Devils should take a long. hard look at Boateng. Chances are they might be able to sign him if they are willing to spend.
Speaking of players that need to receive a long, hard look, we can’t forget about Napoli’s star centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The 26-year-old Senegal international is clearly thinking about the upcoming 2018 World Cup with The Lions of Teranga. However, he should consider a move away from San Paolo Stadium as well since he reached a ceiling in the Italian Serie A. His game is tailor-made for the Premier League, then it would make sense for Manchester United to go after him. Can you imagine how pacey would be a centre-back duo of Koulibaly with Eric Bailly? That would be insanely good!
Milan Škriniar, Alessio Romagnoli, Jose Gimenez and Caglar Soyuncu are decent alternatives as well. Gimenez stands out since the Uruguay international has been close to arrive at Old Trafford in the past. Skriniar and Romagnoli are coming off stellar seasons in the Serie A with Inter Milan and AC Milan, respectively. However, neither player looks like “Old-Trafford-material”. Or at least, not yet. Same goes for Soyncu, who seems set to join Arsenal.
No one knows Mourinho will want (or try) to do. But the market is quite robust in terms of central defenders. And the team will certainly find one this summer if they perform an extensive search during the upcoming transfer window.