Jose Mourinho’s desire for a world-class defender has not gone unnoticed. From a failed summer transfer window through to praising Juventus centre-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci when coming up against the Bianconeri at Old Trafford, the Portuguese has pinpointed exactly where he needs to improve his squad.
Currently favouring a questionable Chris Smalling-Victor Lindelof partnership in the heart of the United backline, Mourinho knows that improvements are needed to compete with the very best of the Premier League.
£30 million summer 2016 signing Eric Bailly has been cast out into the cold, so with defensive options not completely forthcoming, the 13-time Premier League champions have turned their attention to a defender who could prove to be the catalyst for a silverware push post-January.
United’s defensive woes have been well-reported,, with the Reds conceding as many goals already as they had done by only January 31st last year. We’re at the beginning of November.
18 goals allowed in to the back of David De Gea’s net is the worst number out of any team in the top half of the table. You have to look all the way down to lowly Burnley to find a side who can claim a worse defensive record so far this season.
However, following United’s stunning result at the Allianz this week, United are looking to take more than just three points from Turin.
Medhi Benatia is the marked man who currently tops United’ wishlist.
The Moroccan has featured in just four Serie A games for Juve so far this season, unfavoured under manager Massimiliano Allegri.
The Red Devils have competition for the centre-back’s signature however. The Premier League phoenix, Arsenal, are also reportedly looking at the want-away defender. Although at 31-years-old, Benatia does not offer a long-term prospect, he would certainly offer the experience both teams so greatly need.
Benatia has been outspoken of his desire for playing time currently not being offered under Allegri. Wracking up just under 60 appearances for Juventus since moving from Bayern Munich last year, speaking to La Stampa (via The Sun), he said: "I'm struggling playing a game every now and then.
"Last year I did well because I had more consistency, unfortunately I don't have it this year.
“It's part of my job, and I work to always be ready, but it's not a pleasant situation."
"It's normal that I'm not enjoying it, I'm 31 and I want to play as much as possible.
The defender is currently contracted to the Old Lady until the end of the 2019/20 season. AC Milan are currently favourite to acquire the defender’s services.