Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to change the face of Manchester United’s backline at the end of the season, per 90min.
Despite approaching the business end of the season, Solskjaer has already started to ramp up his plans to reshape his defensive options in the summer.
There are still eight fixtures left to go in the Premier League and the Red Devils are very much in contention for lifting the Europa League trophy.
However, the Norwegian has already placed a watchful eye on the summer market as United prepare for a busy transfer window.
Signing a top-level defender is high on United’s list of priorities, and two players are firmly in their sights.
The first name on Solskjaer’s shortlist is Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, the highly-rated Frenchman also followed by Manchester City and Barcelona.
United scouts have been monitoring the 22-year-old’s progress in Andalusia over the past 12 months, and the Red Devils could make a move for the ex-Bordeaux man on the back of their reports.
One major concern for the Premier League giants is the player’s exorbitant £70 million release clause.
Driving Kounde’s price down could be a stumbling block despite some reports saying Sevilla may not require the centre-back’s release clause to be met in full.
At this point, Villarreal’s Pau Torres, who has enjoyed a stellar season in the province of Castellon, looks to be a more realistic option.
The 24-year-old Spaniard has a £50m release clause in his contract, but the Yellow Submarine are reportedly willing to negotiate a player-plus-cash deal for their prized asset.
Eric Bailly, who joined Manchester United from Villarreal in the summer of 2016, could be used as a bargaining chip to convince the Spaniards to renounce their rising star.
After enduring an injury-hit five-year spell at Old Trafford, the 26-year-old is thought to be considering a departure to get his career back on track.
United have recently approached the Ivorian with an offer to extend his contract, but the player is stalling on signing the deal as he fears for his place in Solskjaer’s team.
On the other hand, Villarreal would be happy to welcome Bailly back to the Estadio de la Ceramica.
So he could serve as perfect bait to entice the La Liga side to green-light Torres’ switch to England.
United are keeping close tabs on Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu, Borussia Dortmund’s Manuel Akanji, Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Ben White.
The aforementioned players are part of the Red Devils’ contingency plan should their pursuit of the La Liga duo fail to come to fruition.
As said by 90min, Victor Lindelof could also leave Old Trafford if United clear the decks to accommodate the new defensive arrivals.
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