Manchester United favourites to sign Brazilian midfielder

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is looking to conduct a lot of business during the summer transfer, aiming to assemble his squad so they can take on the likes of Chelsea for the Premier League title next season. During the past season, United won three trophies, two of them being major honours but in the Premier League, United fell short of the required mark, having chance upon chance of breaking into the top four, failing to take advantage and ending up finishing sixth. The EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League double suggested the season was a success – based on winning trophies, but that winning mentality seemed to fall short in the league. United did, however, qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, sitting outside the elite European competition for the last 18 months, exiting at the group stage in the 2015/16 season, falling into the Europa League, only to be beaten by Liverpool at the quarter-final stage.

Mourinho is thought to have earmarked some key positions to strengthen this summer, one of those being in midfield. United have been linked with many talented players, some bonafide targets and other more wishful thinking. One of those currently being linked is AS Monaco’s Brazilian utilitarian, Fabinho. This summer, Monaco have already lost Bernardo Silva, who signed for Manchester City last week, with Benjamin Mendy and even Kylian Mbappe tipped to leave the principality club this summer, possibly Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is linked to Chelsea currently. This exodus of players could force others out the door and see the club give opportunities to talented youth players, also filling in the voids with their own transfer business as Anderlecht midfielder Youri Tielemans has already put pen to paper to move to the Ligue 1 champions this summer.

Fabinho is reported by The Sun, not the most credible I know, to be signed by Mourinho and United with the Old Trafford club seemingly leading the race to sign the player. United have been linked with the talented Brazilian before, two years ago under the guidance of Louis van Gaal, who was looking to strengthen the right-back position, with Matteo Darmian signing for the club instead and having a great start to his United career, going off the boil a few months later. Darmian now seems to be the main option at left-back, based on the injuries sustained by Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young, who had all played in that position throughout the season. Fabinho would not be a candidate to fill in at right-back now, not with the current form of Antonio Valencia, who was one of the players of the last season for me and his teammates who voted for him to become Manchester United Player’s Player of the Season a few weeks back.

Fabinho is a decent player to have based on his ability to play in a number of positions but breaking through in midfield over the past few seasons seems to show his strengths in the position. The Brazilian was a key part of Monaco’s free-scoring style of play which saw them being crowned as the Ligue 1 champions and into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, falling short to Italian side Juventus, which saw the principality side knocked out 4-1 on aggregate. The midfield seems to still remain a problem for Mourinho’s side who have Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini as the younger members of the team, with Michael Carrick signing a new contract recently and Tim Fosu-Mensah waiting in the wings. Mourinho sanctioned the sale of Morgan Schneiderlin to Everton during the January transfer window and released Bastian Schweinsteiger a month or so later so he could sign for MLS side Chicago Fire as a free agent.

Fabinho would almost certainly add to United’s midfield, giving Mourinho plenty of options, which should set him up for another long season with United looking to use the past season as a starting point in order to bring the success back to the Theatre of Dreams, which much work required, especially in the league in which it has been fours seasons where United have sat outside of the race to the title, achieving a top four position once – during Van Gaal’s debut season at the club. United also retain an interest in Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier, but the chances in luring the player away from the clutches of Daniel Levy look remote at best, especially with the future of both Kyle Walker and Danny Rose still up in the air right now. If Fabinho arrived at Old Trafford this summer, he would be an able player from the very start and one who could take over from Carrick when eventually he hangs up his boots.

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