United have been linked with a host of players over the last couple weeks and while two of them – Gareth Bale and Mats Hummels – have already ruled themselves out of the running, Louis Van Gaal has seemingly focused on three names for the time being.
With Hummels staying at Borussia Dortmund, United will have to look elsewhere for a world class centre-back to shore up their wobbly back four and Valencia’s defender Nicolas Otamendi has emerged as the frontrunner for the position.
In January, Spanish media outlets reported that United had made a €35m bid for the Argentine defender and the links have intensified in recent weeks, with the 27-year-0ld reported to have signed a pre-contract with United
Super Deporte, one of Valencia’s biggest newspaper, claimed that Valencia expect United to make an offer for the Argentine international this summer, although they’re not sure whether Van Gaal will be happy to meet Otamendi’s €50m release clause.
On Monday, the Argentine’s agent, Eugenio Lopez, claimed that Otamendi will do everything possible to leave the Spanish club, a story that has since being picked up by the British media.
“Nicolas is comfortable with the VCF and the fans but will have an option to improve his career.
“Jorge Mendes already knows that Nico wants to leave the VCF. Nico will do everything possible to get it […] he will do everything possible to leave.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a host of British newspaper, including The Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail almost simultaneously reported that United had made their interest in Barcelona’s right-back Dani Alves public.
Alves will be out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.
Interestingly, however, while James Ducker on The Times claims that United are merely considering the option of signing the 32-year-old, the Telegraph‘s Mark Ogden wrote that Van Gaal had made the Brazilian “a priority”.
With Rafael set to be shown the exit door and Antonio Valencia not a traditional right-back, a player of Alves’ calibre would be a welcome addition but, at 32 years of age, is the Brazilian past his best?
A player who is not past his prime by any stretch of his imagination is Karim Benzema who, according to the Guardian, has emerged as the answer to United’s problems in front of goal.
The Frenchman was linked with a move to Old Trafford in 2009, although he opted to join Madrid upon leaving Lyon.
Benzema, who scored 22 goals in 46 appearances this season and has already appeared at two World Cups and two European Championships despite being only 27, would represent a significant upgrade on Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie.
Meanwhile, Javier Hernandez has returned to Old Trafford after Real Madrid chose not to make his loan deal permanent, after the Mexican scored nine goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this season.
- Preview: Burnley vs Manchester United – prediction, team news, line-ups
- Burnley boss Vincent Kompany lauds ‘extremely capable’ Erik ten Hag ahead of Man Utd clash
- Kie Plumley announces he has joined Manchester United
- Erik ten Hag should start Alejandro Garnacho vs Burnley after lively cameo
- Man Utd midfielder Christian Eriksen delivers frustrating display vs Bayern
- Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana owns up to his catastrophic error against Bayern Munich
- Bayern Munich 4-3 Manchester United: Player ratings as Andre Onana and Christian Eriksen disappoint massively
- Confirmed Man Utd line-up vs Bayern Munich, Pellistri starts
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim reluctant to raise their bids for Manchester United following their poor start to 2023-24
- ‘Would have signed anything’: Brazilian midfielder reveals chat with Sir Alex Ferguson convinced him to join Man Utd