Manchester United are intensifying their interest in Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne, according to sources at ESPN.
It has emerged in recent weeks that Clyne is Louis van Gaal‘s primary right-back target to replace the out-of-favour Rafael in the summer but it now appears United will do everything they can to sign the England international in the next ten days.
Matters are complicated by Southampton’s form as the Saints currently sit above United in third place and Ronald Koeman will be loathed to part with one of his key players as his side have a realistic chance at Champions League qualification.
On the flip side, Clyne has just 18 months left on his contract and Southampton may be forced to sell if Ed Woodward can come up with a good offer for the the 23-year-old.
Speaking during a live Q+A on ESPN, journalist Miguel Delaney said: “United do want Clyne this window, and have intensified interest last week, seeing if anything is possible in Southampton.”
Whilst supporters will be frustrated to see no defenders arrive this month given the competition they face for a top four spot, there was good news in the shape of confidence that Clyne link-up with Luke Shaw again at Old Trafford in the summer.
Delaney added: “I’ve heard that, behind scenes, it is expected he will leave in summer – especially given his contract situation – but United may have to pay pretty big wedge to do anything this window, especially since it could scupper Southampton’s CL challenge. Coleman *is* a back-up option.”
Everton’s Coleman was thought to be a prime target under his former boss David Moyes last season but it now seems United will put all their efforts into securing Clyne as soon as possible.