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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

Raphael Varane a wanted man by Jose Mourinho?

Raphael Varane is a player who has been linked to Manchester United a few times now, more importantly during the summer of 2011, opting for Real Madrid instead with United signing Phil Jones from Blackburn Rovers, a player Sir Alex Ferguson suggested could become one of the best the club have ever had, which at this moment in time seems wrong. Varane is a top player in his position and could reach the pinnacle of his career at either club. Zinedine Zidane has favoured Pepe over the Frenchman during his time at the club, but with Pepe leaving the club this summer, it could see Varane as the first choice partner to Sergio Ramos, a player United have had some interest in also. United are said to have Varane as one of their main defensive targets, with Burnley’s Michael Keane likely to join the Old Trafford club.

What is being reported and by who?

The Mirror have suggested that United manager Jose Mourinho wants Varane which may lead to a £50 million plus Varane deal to lure goalkeeper David De Gea away from the Old Trafford club. United will be looking for around £70 million for the Spanish goalkeeper this summer, which with £50 million and Varane would probably represent a good deal. United would need to find a capable goalkeeper though, or reply on Sergio Romero to be the number one with Joel Pereira as his understudy. The Daily Star have suggested that Real Madrid will shut up shop and stop United’s attempt to sign Varane as they have rejected them the chance to sign De Gea, which sounds pretty pathetic, but what else can be expected from this newspaper?

What type of player is Raphael Varane?

Varane is a central defender, something United need to strengthen this summer, finding a capable partner to Eric Bailly, who arrived at the club a year ago, which could force the likes of Chris Smalling and/or Phil Jones away from the club. Varane was wanted by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2011, the Frenchman opting for Real Madrid instead and United opting for Jones. Varane has not been the main man in defence for Real Madrid, with Sergio Ramos and Pepe partnering in the centre of defence, which for much of the time has seen Varane play a bit part role in that position. The Frenchman did start the UEFA Champions League final against Juventus on Saturday night though, which could be the manager’s way of telling him he may get more starts next season, with Pepe seemingly out of the door. Varane would be a decent defender in the Premier League and with him and Bailly at the back, United could have their best defensive partnership since Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Likelihood of the transfer?

This is all talk at this moment in time. Manchester United have not made an official move for Varane yet as his season will end for his club this evening, so any move could be made in the coming weeks. I would love to see Varane reunited with Mourinho, playing to his full potential in the Premier League, which will make him an even better option for France, especially ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia next summer. Varane would no doubt be given more playing time at United, giving Didier Deschamps more reason to get him involved in the run-up to next summer’s pinnacle of world football in Russia. Do I think this will happen? I am not yet convinced there is anything to get excited about, but things change in football all of the time and at some point in the next few weeks, United will need to start making a move for their biggest summer yet, looking to assemble a team with the ability to challenge their rivals in the Premier League next season, a league they fell short in during the past season.

copyright: JW