After a bright start, Manchester United’s season has been derailed by a string of bad results. As such, manager Jose Mourinho wants to strengthen a key area of the first team in January.
The Red Devils’ defence has come unravelled on several occasions this season. Their best centre-back so far, Eric Bailly, has been ruled out with injury, while Mourinho has been very critical of centre-half Chris Smalling and left-back Luke Shaw.
The Portuguese manager is renowned for fielding strong defensive sides and is reportedly unhappy with his current defensive options at Manchester United. United have already conceded 14 goals in just 12 Premier League games, including four in one game against Chelsea.
Mourinho is now anxious to to speed up the pursuit of his defensive targets — in particular, Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez.
A report in ESPN states that he wants to sign the 21-year-old centre-back this January. Southampton defender Jose Fonte is a back up in case the club fail to sign Gimenez. The report adds that Monaco right-back Fabinho is also on the radar of Man United and Mourinho.
The Red Devils were reportedly keen on signing Juventus and Italy centre-half Leonardo Bonucci, but the transfer fee is beyond the budget that the club has set aside for defensive signings.
Jose Gimenez was very impressive at the heart of the Atletico Madrid defence last season. However, the 21-year-old has played only once in La Liga and twice in the Champions League so far in this campaign, amidst rumours of a rift between him and manager Diego Simeone.
This will not stop Atletico Madrid from demanding a huge transfer fee for the promising young defender though. A fee between €40 and €50 million could well be the asking price, with Gimenez being seen by the club as a possible successor to his compatriot Diego Godin.
Manchester United have been scouting Gimenez for quite some time now, but the current state of their defence has expedited their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford. They also face competition from Premier League rivals Arsenal, who held talks with Atletico over a possible transfer this past summer.