Ed Woodward can no longer deny Jose Mourinho the chance to sign a defender in January.

The Red Devils’ problems have been badly exposed and no team in the top half of the table has a worse defensive record than United.

A new chance may have emerged to sign the defender Mourinho really wants, Toby Alderweireld.

The Belgian centre-back was left out of Tottenham’s team at the weekend for the North London derby, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino preferring Juan Foyth.

(Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

Alderweireld’s contract expires in 2020, and there is a clause for him to leave for just £25 million next summer.

It make sense financially for Tottenham to sell in January, and Alderweireld has been given more encouragement to leave.

He’d be perfect

The Times reported in the summer that Mourinho wanted Alderweireld at United.

Chief executive Ed Woodward did not get the deal over the line. United are now paying for it.

(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Alderweireld turns 30 in March, and United obviously have to be careful of over-spending.

He is still performing at a high level, and could give United three seasons of top performances.

He would be an instant upgrade on United’s current defenders, and the board must seize on his Tottenham woe to get the deal done.