Manchester United have been keeping tabs on French striker Antoine Griezmann, but the performances of his Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Gimenez have also captured their attention.

The 21-year-old centre-back has emerged as one of the big young prospects at Atletico Madrid. Gimenez is a disciplined, tough tackling defender and is seen as the natural heir to fellow Uruguayan Diego Godin at Atletico.

Gimenez was being linked with Arsenal in the final weeks of the summer transfer window, but the Gunners’ Premier League rivals Manchester United have now joined the race to sign him from Los Rojiblancos.

United have sent scouts to watch the 21-year-old and manager Jose Mourinho has been given good feedback on the player, according to the Mirror. As per the report, the Portuguese manager is expected to compete with Wenger for the defender once the club hierarchy approves the move.

Gimenez has made just one appearance so far in La Liga, and is behind the likes of Savic, Lucas Hernandez and Diego Godin in the pecking order. The youngster is valued at £40 million by Atletico, and they would be unwilling to let him leave for a lesser price.

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 13: José Gimenez of Atletico Madrid holds of Luciano Narsingh of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between PSV Eindhoven and Club Atletico de Madrid at Philips Stadion on September 13, 2016 in Eindhoven, Netherlands . (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 13: José Gimenez of Atletico Madrid holds of Luciano Narsingh of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between PSV Eindhoven and Club Atletico de Madrid at Philips Stadion on September 13, 2016 in Eindhoven, Netherlands . (Picture Courtesy – Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Manchester United defence looked assured in the opening days of the season. However, they have come unraveled several times in the past few weeks, as Manchester City, Watford and Stoke City managed to breach the back four.

Goalkeeper David de Gea has had to come to the rescue for the Red Devils several times already this season. This is something that will definitely not sit right with Mourinho, and the Portuguese manager may be looking to add another centre-back to the squad.

Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind are the three recognized central defenders in the first team. The Dutchman is performing much better at left-back though, while Ivory Coast international Bailly will be with his national team for the African Cup of Nations this winter.

Gimenez would be a solid addition, but it remains to be seen if Manchester United shell out the high transfer free for a non-necessary acquisition.

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