Manchester United are set to drop their interest in Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld and make a move for Milan Skriniar, according to reports.
The Independent says that the Inter Milan defender has become United manager Jose Mourinho’s primary target as he seeks to strengthen his defence.
Despite an impressive record that has been comparable with United’s best ever Premier League defensive achievements, it has been widely thought that individual errors proved costly as their title challenge was all but over by Christmas last season, and as a result some online sites such as BettingTop10 increased the odds of United winning the title to 13/2 in the second half of last season.
Mourinho has sought to strengthen his defence in each of his summers at the club, with Eric Bailly and then Victor Lindelof being brought in.
However, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both started the FA Cup Final, suggesting Mourinho has lost faith in both of his new signings. It meant that a summer of speculation was inevitable and betting sites online had plenty of options for players the United boss may choose to bring in.
Diogo Dalot already signed for the club last week and there is a split in opinion whether he has been brought in to succeed Antonio Valencia or, as his performances for Porto seem to suggest, he may have been signed to be the club’s first choice left back. Mourinho seems determined to add a big name centre half as a statement signing and it has been rumoured for most of the pre-season so far that it would be Alderweireld; with the Belgian missing much of Tottenham’s season, there was the suggestion that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would be willing to sell him ahead of a release clause in the player’s contract becoming valid from next year.
However early negotiations have proved predictably difficult for United with valuations apparently miles apart and that has led to renewed interest in Skrinar. Skrinar is wanted by Barcelona, too, and the Italian club have put a price tag of €80m on their defender.
United have also been linked with a move for Raphael Varane but Real Madrid’s unsuccessful moves for David De Gea will make them unwilling negotiators as far as the French centre-half is concerned; so United are therefore keeping tabs on the Inter Milan player, although it could also be suggested that their interest is a smokescreen to try and lower the price of one of their primary targets.