Jose Mourinho has set his sights on signing a central defender at Manchester United in the January transfer window.
The Portuguese coach has selected a number of key targets for a position where much criticism has been directed towards this season from pundits for Man United.
Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling are the club’s current defensive partnership and although Lindelof is improving with each game, it is not solid enough for a Mourinho team.
ESPN FC claims that Mourinho is focused on bringing one of Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan, AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli or Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic.
The latter has been heavily linked with the Reds in recent weeks, with one report stating that United have a 25% chance of bringing the Serbian to Old Trafford. Bayern Munich and Juventus are seen as the favourites for Milenkovic, though.
Romagnoli and Skriniar would both be expensive deals. Both players are considered to be of supreme importance at their respective clubs and the fact the deal would be in January would cause a premium price.
ESPN suggest that Mourinho has focused on young Serie A defenders in hope that his targets will not be vetoed by the Man United board.
Executives at Old Trafford were wary of pursuing Jerome Boateng and Toby Alderweireld in summer due to their age.
All three of Romagnoli, Skriniar and Milenkovic are 23 years old or younger. Perhaps this is a sign that Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward are learning to compromise.
The issue, though, is that while focusing on younger players is generally sensible as an investment, United need an experienced head in central defence. Maybe as a one off, focusing on a 30-year-old short-term signing like Alderweireld might be a better idea.