Manchester United are preparing to follow a quiet January with an eventful summer as they have already identified a number of defensive targets for next season.
United didn’t make any signings before the deadline passed on Thursday. They are preparing to appoint their first director of football, who will be responsible for the club’s transfer business, and decided to save their money.
United also don’t know who their manager will be next season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is making a strong case to be considered for the role, although Mauricio Pochettino is also in contention.
Whoever it is, one of their first priorities will be addressing United’s defence, which has conceded 35 league goals this season – more than eleven Premier League teams including Leicester, Newcastle and Crystal Palace.
The Independent claims that there are a number of players on United’s shortlist, most of them from Serie A, as they prepare to sign the centre back that Jose Mourinho missed out on last summer.
Napoli‘s Kalidou Koulibaly is top of the list. He has been linked with a number of big European teams but will probably command a world record fee for a defender, surpassing the £75m Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk.
The same is true of Inter‘s Milan Skriniar, who has also been linked but seems like a long shot, given his commitment to the Nerazzurri and repeated insistence that he won’t be leaving.
Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli and Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic – of whom Mourinho was a fan – are other potential options which may be explored by the new director of football.