Manchester United have reportedly expressed an interest in signing AS Roma’s Greek centre-back Kostas Manolas in the January transfer window.

Manchester United are eyeing a £32.4 million (€36 million) swoop for AS Roma’s defensive mainstay Kostas Manolas in the ongoing transfer window, as per a report from Italian outlet Tutto Mercato Web.

It is no secret that Manchester United are in the market for defensive reinforcements following their disastrous start to the 2018-19 Premier League campaign. The Red Devils have already conceded 32 goals in 20 matches this season, more than what they did throughout the entirety of the last term.

Only six other teams boast a worse defensive record than the Mancunians, five of who are occupying the bottom five spots in the table. While the results have significantly improved under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a clean sheet continues to elude the Norwegian and Manchester United.

Victor Lindelof has shone bright this term for the 20-time English champions, while Chris Smalling had also looked solid on occasions until he picked up an injury. But, the rest of the defence hasn’t been up to the mark.

Phil Jones has shown signs of improvement in the past few games, but continues to be inconsistent at best. Eric Bailly displayed his erratic side this past weekend once again, as he got sent off against Bournemouth, while Marcos Rojo has hardly been fit over the course of the season.

To address the issues that plague them at the heart of the defence, Manchester United have been linked with a number of defenders in recent weeks.

Set to bid adieu to the AS Roma faithful? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Set to bid adieu to the AS Roma faithful? (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

There had been reports of the Red Devils rekindling their interest in Tottenham Hotspur star Toby Alderweireld, who was a target in the summer transfer window, while a move for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly was also mooted.

However, Manchester United now seem to have switched their attention towards Roma’s Kostas Manolas. The 27-year-old has been with the Giallorossi for over four years now and has established himself as one of the most reliable centre-halves in the Serie A.

Manolas, during his time with Roma, has amassed 192 appearances for the club, scoring eight times and setting up seven more. The Greek international has taken the field on 21 occasions across all competitions this term, chipping in with a couple of goals.

Manolas has previously been on the radars of Manchester United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal as well. He is someone who has years of experience at the top level and at 27, is entering the peak of his career, making him an attractive prospect for the Red Devils.

What makes 39-time capped Greek international an even more enticing option for United is the fact that he has a release clause worth just £32.4 million (€36 million) in his contract, which is a bargain for a defender of his quality and proven pedigree in the current state of the transfer market.

Manolas has all the attributes to be a quality addition to the Manchester United backline, but it remains to be seen if the Premier League heavyweights press ahead with their chase, or decide to pursue alternate targets.