Manchester United are reportedly having second thoughts about a move for Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld this summer and may start to look at alternatives.
Old Trafford has been Alderweireld’s expected destination for the whole of the transfer window as Jose Mourinho searches for a new centre-back ahead of the 2018-19 season.
Many Man United supporters weren’t happy with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones acting as first-choice options in the heart of the defence for a lot of the 2017-18 campaign, and are craving a change in appearance at the back before August comes around.
The Manchester Evening News have been told by a ‘high-level source at the club’ that United scouts are concerned with the Belgium international’s ‘profile’ and he is not the preferred name on Mourinho’s shortlist.
That shortlist is said to include eight stars from around Europe as centre-back now becomes the club’s priority after capturing midfielder Fred and right-back Diogo Dalot.
The players being considered, according to the MEN, are: Alderweireld, Jerome Boateng, Jose Gimenez, Kalidou Koulibaly, Alessio Romagnoli, Milan Skriniar, Caglar Soyuncu and Raphael Varane.
Real Madrid’s Varane especially will ring a bell for United fans, after Mourinho snatched him from the club’s grasp when managing Madrid back in 2011, while Bayern Munich’s Boateng, Atletico Madrid’s Gimenez and Napoli’s Koulibaly all pose as optimistic targets.
United do currently have five first-team centre-backs fighting for places – Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling – so Mourinho may very well wait until next summer where Alderweireld will have a £25m release clause in his Spurs contract.
It remains likely a new centre-back will arrive before the 2018-19 season kicks off though, so it’ll be interesting to see who is brought in.