Manchester United have been linked with three new young centre backs over the last two days.
The first name is Brighton’s Ben White, who is currently on loan at Leeds United. The 22-year-old has played every minute of the Yorkshire club’s Championship campaign so far this season and has attracted the attention of a number of big name clubs.
The Mirror quotes The Athletic’s Phil Hay as saying ‘He’s had Liverpool on his case right throughout the season.’
‘Their talent scout is Andy O’Brien, the former Leeds defender, who’s been watching him a lot, and I’m hearing that both City and Manchester United are keen as well.’
The second centre back being discussed is another 22-year-old, Benfica’s Ruben Dias. Portuguese outlet Record claims that United have joined neighbours Manchester City and Barcelona in the pursuit of the Lisbon club’s academy graduate, who has gone from strength to strength since filling the gap left when Victor Lindelof joined United. However, City have been linked more strongly than United with the player and his €100 million (£87 million) release clause means that it would be an unlikely signing for the Red Devils to pull off at the current time.
The last name out of the blocks is probably the least well-known, but could be the most likely to sign: Real Valladolid’s 21-year-old Mohammed Salisu. The young Ghanaian has been an ever-present in the Valladolid side in his debut season and has attracted a great deal of interest from the world’s elite.
According to Spanish outlet AS, Salisu has a release clause of just €12 million (£10.5 million) and his club’s attempts to sign him up to a new deal have so far failed.
United have been linked with the Ghanaian since November and his agent is United player Juan Mata’s father, also called Juan. Mata Senior said recently ‘He is another African discovery and is very young.’
‘He’s been the sensation of la Liga this season because he’s only 20 years old, 1.90 meters tall and left-footed – playing in central defence in this category is not easy.’
‘The truth is that I think this may be his window because a lot of interest has been shown by many clubs and he deserves it.’
With Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones all linked with departures from Old Trafford in the summer, there will be space for a talented young centre back to come into the squad. However, finances will be a factor and that, alongside the Mata family connection, could tip the balance in terms of Salisu when the Red Devils decide to make their move.
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