As if the protracted capture of Juventus’ Paul Pogba wasn’t enough, Jose Mourinho will not be finished in this summer’s transfer window if and when a deal to bring the Frenchman to Manchester United is completed.
With 29 days left until this summer’s window slams shut on Wednesday August 31st, according to Duncan Castles in The Times, Mourinho is reported to have at least three options in mind for an additional centre back to add to his current options of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly, a summer signing from Villareal. Daley Blind, who featured regularly as a centre back last season is expected to provide competition for Luke Shaw at left back, with Marcos Rojo expected to be moved on having underwhelmed in his two years at Old Trafford since moving from Sporting Lisbon.
The suggested options are Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci, Zenit St. Petersburg’s Ezequiel Garay and Southampton’s Jose Fonte. In terms of difficulty in sealing a deal, Bonucci would easily represent the toughest given that the Bianconeri would be highly reluctant to allow another key player to leave Turin, let alone to United given how much of this summer has been dominated by talk of Pogba’s move back to Old Trafford. As such, a deal would likely be hugely expensive given the player’s quality and importance to Juve.
Garay would represent an experienced, and arguably cheaper option in comparison. The former Benfica centre back was regularly linked with a move to United during his time in Portugal, and might be prised from Russia for a reasonable fee.
Fonte, fresh from helping Portugal to victory in this summer’s European Championships in France would be, on the face of it at least, the easiest to complete a deal for. Southampton may be reluctant to sell him given that the Saints have suffered several high-profile exits each summer for the last few years, with Saido Mane having left for Liverpool and manager Ronald Koeman having taken over at Everton this close season already.
As such, new manager Claude Puel may be reluctant to allow another key part of his side leave prior to the start of this season, but a large-enough bid might be enough to convince Southampton to do business. Fonte, 32 has a wealth of experience in English football having made over 200 appearances for the Saints, and would add the experience and leadership that Mourinho is reportedly seeking in order to solidify his back four.
United’s defence only conceded 35 Premier League goals last season, joint best with Tottenham Hotspur but this was mostly due to the ultra-conservative tactics employed by Louis van Gaal, with Mourinho understandably keen to reinforce a key area of his side before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.