Manchester United have been tipped to try and sign Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld this summer, but in doing so could potentially be going over the head and against the wishes of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Alderweireld has a £25m release clause in his current Spurs contract that becomes active this summer and United have long been linked with a move for the Belgian.
It makes him an affordable choice, but a story earlier this week suggested that Solskjaer would prefer to give existing centre-backs Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe an opportunity to prove themselves in pre-season, and for the primary focus ahead of the 2019/20 campaign to be on signing a new right-back instead.
A new story from The Sun also makes the point about Solskjaer wishing to keep his centre-backs, with the Norwegian apparently keen to coach them into form rather than start afresh.
Yet the tabloid also claims that United are ‘refusing to rule out’ an approach for Alderweireld and will decide whether to go ahead with an approach at some point next week, even though, as the headline alleges, ‘…Solskjaer doesn’t want to sign him’.
The general consensus in recent weeks and months is that the United boss has been eyeing young talent that can grow and develop at Old Trafford and serve the club long-term – the kind of thing he experienced firsthand during his own playing days.
Even with an affordable price tag, Alderweireld, at 30 years of age, does not fit the profile of player that United are thought to be looking for.
Assuming there is any truth to the stories, it could already be the second time that Solskjaer has been overruled on transfers this summer following recent claims that his request to sell Anthony Martial, a player whose attitude has been under particular scrutiny, was allegedly denied because co-owner Joel Glazer is a big fan of the Frenchman, likening him to Pele.