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Manchester United not fully keen on Toby Alderweireld with seven other names on the shortlist

Manchester United have been linked with a move for Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld this summer but talks have recently his a stalemate with United’s valuation of £55 million being towered by Spurs’ £75 million valuation of the player. In a years time, because of a clause in the player’s contract, he could leave the North London club for just £25 million, which makes anything over United’s valuation of the player to be money not spent well. Because of this, it is reported that United a list of other players to seek to sign this summer instead of the Belgian.

The Manchester Evening News has reported that United have a list of eight central defenders, with the aim of one of them being signed by Jose Mourinho’s team. Despite the headlines dominating with reports that Alderweireld is the main target, it has been suggested that United’s scouts are not 100% sure on the Belgian because of his profile, whatever that means – it could be a number of things. Despite the Spurs man being experienced in the Premier League, United seem to be looking further afield with players from the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A on the list.

United have already commenced their business in the summer transfer window completing the signing of Diogo Dalot in a €22 million deal from FC Porto last Wednesday and a day before that announced a deal with Shakhtar Donetsk over Brazilian midfielder Fred, although he has not yet been confirmed as a United player. It has shown that United were eager to get players in ahead of the pre-season tour of the United States of America and Germany, despite some players seemingly unavailable for some or all of the tour because of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

It has been reported that United’s seven other options, other than Alderweireld are; Raphael Varane, Jerome Boateng, Kalidou Koulibaly, Milan Skriniar, Alessio Romagnoli, Jose Gimenez and Caglar Soyuncu. However, it is also suggested that any of these prospective deals would be the club’s most complicated transfer this summer. Below you will find a short profile of the players which will include their age, current club, strengths, weaknesses and what I feel would be the chances of United signing the player, based on my own opinion and what is being reported in the media.

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Raphael Varane

The French international, 25, was signed by then Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho for a fee of around €10 million in 2011. Varane has completed his seventh season at the La Liga club, playing a total of 233 times, scoring 10 goals. He has also played 42 times for France, scoring twice. Despite being a peripheral figure in Madrid, Varane is a player United have been linked to summer after summer. Mourinho will rate him highly, signing him seven years ago, and would obviously be interested should the player seek a future away from Real Madrid. However, Varane has won his fourth UEFA Champions League winner’s medal in five years, winning 15 major honours with the club, so to pry him from the clutches of Madrid would be difficult. Varane is a strong passer and has an immense concentration of the game, however, tackling is a problem for him at times.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 5/10

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Jerome Boateng

The 29-year-old German international has played in the Premier League before, spending the 2010/11 season at Manchester City. Costing €13.5 million that summer, after the frustration of playing predominantly at right-back, Boateng is a player that City may regret losing, based on his career after leaving the Etihad. Boateng has played 258 times for Bayern Munich, scoring eight goals in his career which started in Germany at Hertha Berlin, playing in the reserve side, then the first team before signing for Hamburger SV, before joining City. In seven seasons at Munich, Boateng has won the Bundesliga six times, in succession from the 2012/13 season onwards. He’s won 14 major honours with the Bavarian club, also winning the FA Cup at City. Internationally, Boateng has played 71 times for Germany, scoring one goal. He helped the U21 side lift the European Championships in 2009, winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Boateng is similar to Varane in that his passing and concentration are both strengths but tackling is seen as a weakness. The player is said to be considering his future this summer, which could mean a new challenge is on the horizon.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 6/10

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Kalidou Koulibaly

The Senegalese international is just 26 and seen as a huge prospect in the game. Born in France, playing for Metz, moving to Genk in Belgium, now playing for Napoli in Italy, Koulibaly is experienced, despite not yet playing in the Premier League. The player has been linked to United previously, albeit not all that credibly. The player has completed his fourth season in Italy, playing a total of 164 times for Napoli, scoring eight goals. He has won two major honours in his career; the Belgian Cup with Genk in the 2012/13 season and the Supercoppa Italiana with Napoli in 2014. Koulibaly is 6ft 5in, physically strong, recognised for his aerial prowess, passing ability, and versatility. Koulibaly would be my first choice after Alderweireld to come to United. The African Cup of Nations would normally be a problem bringing African players to the Premier League but as the tournament has been switched from January/February to June/July from 2019, it is no longer an issue that United would lose players at an important part of the season. His reported price tag, if true, could be a problem.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 5/10

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Milan Skriniar

The 23-year-old Slovakian has been linked to United previously and it was reported recently that both United and City made a £53 million bid for the Inter Milan player, both of which were turned down. After a sensational season at the San Siro, helping his team return to the UEFA Champions League, beating Lazio on the final day of the season, it would see the club want to retain the player, or at least sell him for a large fee if they have to. United has been unsuccessful when dealing with Inter, seeking to sign Ivan Perisic from the club last summer, which did not materialise. Unless a record bid is received by Inter, I doubt Skriniar will be leaving the club. He is a good prospect, one for now and the future, and one which many of Europe’s biggest clubs have been watching. He’s played 40 matches for Inter, scoring four goals so far, also playing 18 times for his country. Skriniar is a strong passer and a player whose concentration is impeccable. A real asset for any club and so far, only Inter can be the victors, whether it be by keeping the Slovakian or selling him for a huge profit from the €20 million paid to Sampdoria last summer.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 3/10

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Alessio Romagnoli

The 23-year-old AC Milan defender may not be as experienced as other players in this article, but he is one that other clubs have been linked with already this year. Coming through the youth ranks at Roma, Romagnoli has completed the sixth season of his career so far. He has played 111 times for Milan, scoring five goals. He was linked to United, Chelsea, and Barcelona in February with Milan seemingly likely to offer him a new contract to deter all three clubs from being able to make a deal to sign the player. Barcelona seem to be out of the action with Samuel Umtiti signing a new contract and Clement Lenglet on their radar. Romagnoli is strong at holding on to the ball, passing, aerial duels and concentration, however, his weaknesses include; crossing, discipline, and tackling. He could compliment a player who has discipline and tackling though, so that is not to put anyone off the player. He is highly rated in Italy and has played seven times for his country.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 5/10

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Jose Gimenez

The 23-year-old Uruguayan currently plays for Atletico Madrid since signing for them for a €900,000 fee in 2013. Gimenez has been linked to United many times, the last in November 2017 when it was suggested that the player had been given the all clear to make the move, seemingly rejecting United, according to the media. We see stories like that all the time, there is nothing to suggest the player rejected United, or that United made a move to sign the player. Gimenez has played 113 times for Atletico, scoring six goals. He is experienced in the fact this was his sixth season as a first team player. He has also been a mainstay in the Uruguay national side, playing 42 times, scoring five goals. Gimenez has won three major honours at Atletico, winning La Liga in the 2013/14 season, lifting the Supercopa de España in 2014 and winning the UEFA Europa League last season. He is also a runner-up twice in the UEFA Champions League, losing to Real Madrid both times. The player has two years remaining on his current contract.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 5/10

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Caglar Soyuncu

The 22-year-old Turkish defender has been strongly linked to Arsenal this summer with the media adding United recently. Turkish Football wrote about the player in February, suggesting three reasons as to why he could be a success at United, so there must have been some interest in the past for the young international. Soyuncu started his career at Altınordu in Turkey and was linked to Besiktas, Galatasaray, and Sevilla before moving to Freiburg. He has been linked to Lille, Roma, Villarreal, Manchester City and Arsenal since playing in the Bundesliga. Soyuncu has played for Turkey at U18, U19, U20, and U21 international level, also playing 15 times for the senior side. After two seasons in the Bundesliga, playing 55 matches and scoring one goal, this summer could be a big one for the young Turkish player. Soyuncu possesses leadership qualities, something United may be interested in, is a good playmaker, dribbler, also being strong in the air. He is a strong defender, a player that admires Jose Mourinho and despite being 22, has experience and longevity in the game. Not all the best players in the world play for big teams.

Likelihood of completing this signing: 6/10

Could Jose Gimenez be the central defender Jose Mourinho is looking for?

Manchester United need to get over the defensive weaknesses they have at this moment in time. Jose Mourinho’s side have Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind as the experienced members of the team, but with Jones and Smalling out of action, again, it leave Mourinho with only three experienced players, which shows the full extent of the defensive weakness – both Smalling and Jones. Both of the English central defenders are left from the Sir Alex Ferguson era, both of whom have suffered many injuries, keeping them out of action for long periods of time. Smalling is a player who excelled last season, but this season, he has been poor. Jones might have a future at United if injuries can be avoided, which was what seemed to be the case this

Jones might have a future at United if injuries can be avoided, which was what seemed to be the case this season until Smalling injured in during an England training session. Seemingly with one player likely to head out of the door this summer (Smalling), he will need to be replaced in order to keep United fully stocked with central defenders. You may wonder why Axel Tuanzebe is not mentioned? He needs time to get into the swing of things, and probably will find more chances coming in the new season.

What has been reported on Gimenez leaving the Vicente Calderon?

United have been linked to many central defenders with January looking likely to see Victor Lindelof in the famous red shirt at Old Trafford, but nothing materialised there, with the player signing an extended contract with Benfica, suggesting that he will remain at the Portuguese club, even during the summer. One player who might be one Jose Mourinho is looking at is Jose Gimenez of Atletico Madrid. The 22-year-old has been benched at the Spanish club this season with Diego Godin and Stefan Savic the preferred centre-back pairing, leaving the Uruguayan with a big decision to make; fight for his place, or find a club that will see him get more playing time. Gimenez has been linked to United by Don Balon and The Sun, two of the most unreliable sources out there, but looking at the player and his circumstances, there might just be something to the reports.

Gimenez has a hefty £38 million price attached to him. When you consider Eric Bailly cost United £30 million last summer, it could well be a price that United or other suitors Liverpool will have to pay to get their man, but there may be a possibility of a lower fee being agreed, especially after Atletico do want to sell the player and either promote from within, or shop about for a replacement. This season, Gimenez has made 23 appearances for Atletico, scoring one goal and being booked six times. In La Liga alone, The Uruguayan has made 13 appearances and his stats may suggest he could be a player Mourinho could help perfect. His passing success stands at 75%, averaging at five defensive actions per match, making one defensive error this season and also averages a 63% success rate dueling with other players. Gimenez is a player who has been linked to United before, which could be a suggestion as to the authenticity of the reports.

How does Gimenez play and could he fit in at Manchester United?

Jose Gimenez was rejected by the director of Penarol, the most successful Uruguayan team, whilst playing for Danubio, Gimenez seems to have risen through the ranks at Atletico after his £630,000 transfer, finding his feet at both club and international level. Gimenez holds the ‘win at all costs’ attitude, which is something that United could do with, having that in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as Sir Alex Ferguson retired from the game, seemingly losing that with it not being replaced, until Eric Bailly came to the club and Jose Mourinho got his hands on United’s current crop of defenders. Gimenez is a mature player for his age, which is good to see. Gimenez combines his power, pace, and positioning, he is dynamic, forceful and utilises his intelligence in the game. Those attributes are things that United will need, especially in the fact that both Smalling and Jones seem to get injured so easily. Mourinho will be looking for a defence which can help him win titles with Manchester United, it is clear his current crop of defenders may not do that for him, well some could, but strength in numbers would be so much better, especially in having players who could be rotated, keeping the same formation and style of play, giving United strength in numbers and the ability to continue to dominate, despite fatigue with other players.

How much could Gimenez cost Manchester United?

As the reports suggest, £38 million would be the figure to pry Gimenez away from Atletico Madrid, but a deal could be made. Keeping in mind that Bailly cost United £30 million during the summer of 2016, a similar fee could be agreed. It is certainly not a fee that many clubs would happily pay for a player not currently picked for the starting XI the majority of the time, but in terms of experience, ability, and playability, £30 million plus would be a decent fee to pay for a player who is just 22 years of age with all to play for during his career. When you also look at Phil Jones, who recently turned 25, cost United more than £16 million nearly six years ago, it would be a fee that is comparable in today’s money.

What is the likelihood of the transfer being completed?

At this moment in time, rumours are just that, rumours. There is nothing solid to state that Manchester United are actually interested in Gimenez once again. I don’t think the club will confirm anything either, which is why rumours seem to develop legs, then in the weeks and months, after the rumours first appeared, you see more, which seems to have developed from the initial rumour. Before you know it, the player has either signed a new contract at his club or has gone elsewhere, which will automatically mean that Manchester United were then beaten to the players signature, even if the club were never interested in him. That seems to be the extent of journalism today.

copyright: JW