Despite signing World Cup winner Raphael Varane, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Manchester United sign another central defender in 2022.

The former Real Madrid man has struggled with injuries since arriving at Old Trafford, and the Reds have looked vulnerable and lacked leadership without his reassuring and commanding influence.

Atalanta v Manchester United: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Club captain Harry Maguire has been in and out of form since the European Championships, plus there are question marks surrounding Eric Bailly’s fitness and Victor Lindelof’s ability to stand up to the physical challenge.

Phil Jones will likely have secured a permanent move away from Old Trafford in the summer and Axel Tuanzebe may do the same, following the conclusion of his season-long loan at Aston Villa.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

So if United do decide to delve into the centre back market once again, here are three players we should target…

Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea v Leeds United - Premier League
(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

If there are no breakthrough in negotiations with Chelsea to extend the German’s deal, United just like the rest of Europe’s heavyweights, should be waiting to pounce.

The Champions League winner has the pace and guile to combine being both a dominant and ball-playing defender.

At the age of 28, just like Varane, Rudiger is in his footballing prime and United should look to take advantage of his contract uncertainty.

The former Roma man may have aspirations to play for Paris Saint Germain or Real Madrid and experience a different league, but United would be foolish in not entering negotiations with Rudiger and his team.

Pau Torres

Manchester United v Villarreal CF: Group F - UEFA Champions League
(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

United have been able to see a lot of the Spaniard’s qualities first-hand over the last year, following our three clashes against Villarreal.

The 24-year-old is a class act and with the Yellow Submarine being off the place in La Liga, in the chase for Champions League qualification, the Europa League holders may decide to cash in on their prized asset, in the summer.

Signing the left-footed Torres, who is tall, composed in possession and deceivingly nimble, would add balance and youth to United’s backline.

United could potentially use former Villarreal man Bailly as a sweetener in the deal to convince the El Madrigal side to part ways with the Spanish international.

Jules Kounde

Athletic de Bilbao v Sevilla - La Liga Santander
(Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

If United fail in their pursuits of either Rudiger or Torres, then Sevilla’s young star, who is one of Europe’s most coveted centre backs could be a shrewd target.

Quick, commanding and versatile, Kounde could be the perfect partner for his compatriot Varane at Old Trafford.

Although Sevilla are above Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga, their Champions League exit would have hurt Kounde, who after winning the UEFA Nations League with France, will undoubtedly be eager to lift further major honours.

With Chelsea currently facing the prospect of losing Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta on free transfers in June, Thomas Tuchel’s side, who refused to pay the Frenchman’s £68m release clause in the summer, could reignite their interest in Kounde.

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