Three centre-backs Manchester United should target in January
It is no more a secret that Jose Mourinho wanted to sign a central defender in the summer transfer window. Despite having five centre-backs, why Mourinho was so desperate to add another to his Manchester United squad was a strange question to answer then but not now, after four games into the new season.
Manchester United have conceded seven goals in the first four games, which shouldn’t be the case if Mourinho intends to realistically challenge for the title this term. Despite a serious improvement from last season, one of the reasons why United came second best is because of some really chaotic defending.
And the way United have started this season has given Mourinho a lot of headaches in terms of selecting his centre-backs. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof endured nightmares at Brighton, Phil Jones is excellent one moment and disastrous the other, Marcos Rojo has never shown the form to be a regular starter and Chris Smalling remains inconsistent with his performances.
All this points to the fact that Mourinho will have to sign a quality centre-back in January, which has to be the utmost priority. That being said, here are three centre-backs United should target in January.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)
Toby Alderweireld is running out of time, with his current contract set to expire at the end of this season, although Tottenham Hotspur have the option to trigger a one-year extension. That would, however, activate a clause allowing him to leave for £25m.
Alderweireld, regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, has not yet signed a new deal with Spurs after managing just three Premier League starts in 2018. While the Belgian has been reintegrated into the starting XI by Mauricio Pochettino this term, Spurs might cash in on the centre-back in January.
Manchester United must surely reignite their interest in Alderweireld, who was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in the summer, as per the Mirror.
Alderweireld has been excellent since joining Tottenham. He is composed and is an excellent reader of the game. He is a threat on the other side of the pitch and is a good leader to have in the defence. If there is a possibility of signing the Belgian in January, United must not even think twice.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City)
Harry Maguire was a relatively unknown prospect two seasons ago but after a decent first season with Leicester City and a solid World Cup campaign with England, he suddenly became heavily coveted in the summer transfer window.
Physically imposing and excellent with the ball at his feet, Maguire will perfectly fit in at Manchester United, who were interested in signing the England international £75m in summer, as per the Express. While things didn’t materialise in the summer, Mourinho must make a move for Maguire in January.
Maguire is a dominant figure with physicality and quick recovery pace. He is also comfortable with the ball at his feet and would add power, pace and agility to United’s defence.
Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid)
Jose Gimenez won’t be a bad option to have either. Gimenez is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe and has forged an excellent partnership at the back with Diego Godin at Atletico Madrid.
Despite not being a giant, Gimenez has strength in abundance and reads the game superbly. But the most important skill he would introduce into United’s back-four is his ability on the ball.
Adept with both feet, the Uruguayan has a reputation for starting attacks with incisive, fearless passes and dribbles from the back.
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At 23, Jimenez is an experienced international centre-back ready to step up and could be the man to make the crucial difference at the back for Jose Mourinho’s men.