Scouting Report: The 4 Defenders Manchester United Must Sign When The Transfer Window Opens
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to sign a new defender as he continually criticises his own under-performing back-line, whilst eulogising over opposition centre-backs.
Mourinho - assuming he is still manager in January - has been linked with numerous defensive signings following the underwhelming efforts of Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly. We take a look at United's four biggest transfer targets for the winter transfer window...
Mourinho was desperate to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City during the transfer window but the Red Devils' board were unwilling to meet the asking price. However, the Sun On Sunday are reporting that United are willing to pay the Foxes £60m in January for the services of Harry Maguire, who became something of a cult hero following his performances for England at the 2018 World Cup.
The 25-year-old has endured an underwhelming season for Leicester this season, struggling for form alongside the hapless Wes Morgan in several games, and it is telling that Leicester have conceded 16 goals in ten Premier League fixtures, keeping only two clean sheets in the process.
United are also targeting several central defenders in Serie A, with Nikola Milenkovic rated at £50m by his club, Fiorentina. Calciomercato are reporting that Bayern Munich are also interested in the Serbian, who has been a mainstay of Fiorentina's defence this season.
The 21-year-old would be an ideal long-term addition and has been ever-present in a mean Fiorentina defence, scoring two goals on a personal level, with the Viola conceding just eight goals in their ten league outings.
According to ESPN, Mourinho is challenging the United board to prove he has a long-term future at the club by backing him with big-money bids for Alessio Romagnoli and Milan Skriniar.
Romagnoli joined AC Milan from Roma in the summer of 2015 and has developed into a formidable force. The left-footed Italian is now club captain but the Rossoneri have endured a poor start to the Serie A season, with Milan failing to keep a clean sheet when conceding ten goals in Romagnoli's seven league appearances.
AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso is under pressure as the club continue to languish in the lower half of the Italian table and United could make their move for Romagnoli, 23, in January.
Milan Skriniar is another long-term possibility for United as the Inter Milan defender is only 23 years old. The Slovakian international has been an integral part of an impressive Inter Milan defence that has conceded just five goals in seven league matches this term. Rock solid.