Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Eliaquim Mangala with a view to making a swap deal involving midfielder Anderson according to Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias.
They claim that United will make their move at the end of the season with a bid of around €35 million plus Anderson in order to meet the €50 million release clause that FC Porto placed in his contract.
The 22-year-old French international impressed in Portugal throughout the 2012/13 season and has reportedly also attracted the attention of Chelsea and Monaco.
Mangala previously admitted he was flatted by United’s interest and has recently taken Jorge Mendes on as his agent, both of which have fuelled further speculation that a move to Old Trafford is in the offing especially given United’s strong links with Mendes.
Mangala currently has a €50 million release in his contract but his club are not thought to be particularly interested in bringing Anderson back to Porto, the club where United bought him from in 2007.
Despite that, Diario de Noticias believe a deal can be reached as David Moyes hopes to use Anderson as a way of gaining first refusal on Mangala given that competition from Chelsea and Monaco would be tough.
As a central defender also capable of playing left-back, Mangala began his professional career in Belgium for Standard Liege for three seasons before he made the move to Porto in a deal worth €6.5 million. He has represented the French national team on three occasions.
For any defender, €50 million is an eye watering figure for any defender, especially given that Moyes pulled the plug on a deal to bring Ezequiel Garay to Old Trafford this summer when the player admitted that he was going to join until Moyes decided otherwise in a deal that would have been significantly cheaper than €50 million.
But with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand coming toward the end of their careers, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Moyes bring in another top quality centre back to improve the squad.