Despite the World Cup in Russia, it’s been a relatively quiet summer on the transfer front for Manchester United.
With Brazil midfielder Fred their main acquisition, joining Portuguese right back prospect Diogo Dalot and, more bizarrely, veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant at Old Trafford, there may be even more work to do on the spine of the side.
Jose Mourinho wants to strengthen his options in central defence, but there are pros and cons to each rumoured target. Who are those players and what are the benefits and drawbacks of going for them?
Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham has been very impressive since first coming to the Premier League on loan at Southampton. His experience of English football and proven ability are attractive.
The Red Devils and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy are said to be some way apart on their valuation of the Belgium international. Selling to a top-four rival makes little sense, especially with Man Utd more fancied in the Premier League title betting on Oddschecker.
Jerome Boateng has also played Premier League football before, but flattered to deceive at times with Manchester City. Those connections with United’s rivals are unlikely to endear him to the Stretford End.
Bayern Munich are willing to sell Boateng, however, but he’s just had a very poor World Cup with Germany as the holders bowed out in the group stage and doesn’t look like he can cut it at the highest level any longer.
Jose Gimenez has a big reputation and has been learning his defensive craft with arguably South America’s best centre-back Diego Godin at Atletico Madrid for some years now.
If their club and country partnership is broken up, how good will he be on his own? Red Devils fans may remember how other promising Uruguay internationals like Diego Forlan and Guillermo Varela have flopped at Old Trafford.
Alessio Romagnoli could be tempted to quit the San Siro after AC Milan were banned from competing in European competitions by UEFA.
The big issue here is not that, but that the highly-regarded Italy defender only recently signed a new contract meaning he would command a huge fee.
Raphael Varane was blamed four years ago when his mistake saw France lose to eventual 2014 World Cup winners Germany in the quarter-finals. His stock is sky high again now.
The Real Madrid defender has long been admired by Mourinho but, with the Bernabeu still reeling from losing Cristiano Ronaldo and Varane encountering injury problems that have held him back at times, he may still elude the United boss.