3 centre backs Manchester United can sign
Rumours last week alleged Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has decided to sell his centre-half pairing. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have been the main duo in the club's league-leading defence this season. Both, but especially Smalling, were atrocious in the 1-0 loss to Newcastle. The result left the Red Devils 16 points behind Manchester City and looking nervously over their shoulders at the other top 4 hopefuls. Smalling rebounded to play exceptionally well against Huddersfield in the FA Cup. Jones, however, has been ruled out for today's Champions League match against Sevilla.
United signed Swedish defender Victor Lindelof in the summer to add depth. The 23-year-old has found adjusting to the Premier League's intensity and the pressure of playing for Manchester United difficult.
Mourinho needs quality in the heart of defence. The next transfer window could be crucial for the 20-time English champions. Despite boasting the best defence in the league and the best goalkeeper, United still contrive to make shocking errors at the back. JP Aravena recently suggested three options the club could choose. Here are three more.
Twenty-four-year-old English centre-back Harry Maguire’s stock has risen in the last few years following excellent performances for Hull and Leicester City. Maguire is a ball-playing defender who will add solidity to United’s back-line while helping to launch attacks from the back. Smalling and Jones show little composure even not when under pressure.
The Leicester man will provide calm. He is tall, physically imposing, and a force on set pieces in both boxes. Being English aids United as regards the homegrown criteria to which every club in England must adhere.
Evans is no stranger to Manchester United. The Northern Irishman began his career at Old Trafford. He played in the first team from 2006 through 2015 but was let go by Louis Van Gaal. The 30-year-old has improved in his three seasons at West Bromwich Albion. He is now the Baggies captain.
Even better, Evans is reportedly available for a mere £3 million should Alan Pardew fail to rescue the side from relegation. West Brom is currently seven points from safety. Such a deal makes Evans significantly cheaper than any other potential arrival. His improvement has been so drastic he has been linked to both Arsenal and Manchester City. United could use a left-footed defender known for his skill and leadership. If the club could bring Paul Pogba home, surely Mourinho and Woodward can manage this.
The 26-year-old Senegalese International is possibly the best central defender in the Italian top flight. At 6'5", the towering giant would form a powerful partnership with Eric Bailly. The Napoli player is currently impressing in the Gli Azzurri's Scudetto push but has never hidden his ambition to play for a more prestigious team. He was the subject of consistent interest from Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte. A deal failed to materialize as the clubs were far apart in their valuation of the player.
The racism he suffers in Italy is also likely to hasten his exit. A move to Old Trafford would be expensive, though. Napoli are unlikely to part with him for less than £50 million.