With his attempts to sign defenders so far proving fruitless, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has identified a new target to bolster his back line.

Although it at first seemed like a convenient rumour to churn out given United played at Bayern Munich yesterday, it is now being reported from reliable sources such as Sam Wallace of the Telegraph that United are in talks with Bayern Munich to sign 29-year-old Jérôme Boateng.

Boateng — 30 in September — is widely considered one of the best defenders in Germany although injuries have restricted his appearances over the last two season. The defender, of course, had a short stint at Manchester City before moving to Bayern.

He represented Germany at this summer’s World Cup, being sent off in their game against Sweden. His pace, physicality and experience make him an obvious upgrade on United’s current options; it remains a distinct possibility that the leaked news of these negotiations is done with the intention to accelerate Tottenham’s own position as United and Spurs remain deadlocked in Mourinho’s pursuit of Toby Alderweireld (indeed, that the speculated fee seems in a similar ballpark does not appear to be an accident). Mourinho was further frustrated when a move for his second choice, Harry Maguire, was turned down flat.

Wallace reports that Mourinho has almost reluctantly turned to Boateng with time running out in the window. Clearly, the United boss has identified experience in the back line as his priority, as he tries to work with the transfer restrictions imposed on him this summer.

Boateng has made 258 appearances for Bayern, scoring 8 goals; he has made 73 appearances for the national side, scoring a solitary goal.

When asked about the rumour Boateng told press “no comment”.

The Telegraph reports that Bayern are willing to discuss the deal, on the condition that they are able to identify a replacement before the deadline.