Manchester United are reportedly set to the transfer of prioritise Belgian international Toby Alderweireld in the January transfer window.

According to a report by The Sun, Manchester United are set to step up their pursuit of Tottenham centre-back Toby Alderweireld. Jose Mourinho has been given the green light by the club’s board to launch the offensive for a defender in January, with the Belgian international being his primary target.

Alderweireld’s case has been a curious one in 2018. Regarded as one of the best defenders plying their trade in England, the 29-year-old went slipping down the pecking order in Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team setup, with his contract standoff with Tottenham believed to be the chief reason for his ouster.

Unsurprisingly, conventional wisdom suggested that a move away from the North London club would be in the offing in the summer transfer window. Manchester United were reportedly prepared to sign him till the very last day of the English window, before Spurs chose to keep hold of the player.

Since then, Alderweireld’s fortunes have improved drastically, with the player racking up the most minutes among all the centre-backs at Tottenham. However, the Belgian international’s future is still up in the air, as he is yet to reach an agreement with Spurs over a new deal, a situation which has kept Manchester United, among other clubs interested.

Will Manchester United finally be able to land Alderweireld? (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Will Manchester United finally be able to land Alderweireld? (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Alderweireld had been one of many centre-backs that Jose Mourinho had shortlisted for a summer move, only to see the board fail to land any. The inability to bolster the defence has adversely affected Manchester United, who have already conceded two goals fewer than they did in all of last season’s Premier League campaign.

However, after discussions with Ed Woodward, which included his agent Jorge Mendes, Mourinho has been given the green light to pursue a move for a defender in the January transfer window. Kalidou Koulibaly is believed to be the Manchester United manager’s first-choice target.

But, with the chances of signing the Napoli superstar being quite low, Alderweireld has become the priority for the Red Devils. With the Belgian’s contract set to expire in a little over 18 months at the latest, Manchester United believe they can swoop the Belgian international away from Tottenham in a £40 million deal.

Alderweireld has previously suggested that he wanted to stay put at Tottenham beyond the summer. But, with no progress on a renewal, a move to Manchester United could be a possibility, although one can expect Daniel Levy to negotiate for a price higher than £40 million, despite the £25 million release clause that could come into effect next summer.

It now remains to be seen if Manchester United are finally able to secure the services of Alderweireld, who they believe can hit the ground running and create an instant impact at Old Trafford for the second half of the season.

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