Even after news finally broke that Manchester United had finally sealed the signing of Paul Pogba, there remains a sense that Jose Mourinho and the club aren’t quite done in the ssummer transfer window. Sure, the Portuguese has installed a promising looking spine into the club thanks to the signings of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Pogba himself, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s abilities out wide also offering excitement, there are still a few holes to plug or potentially reinforce in this United side, should Mourinho feel the need.
The biggest hole being centre back, which is, at this stage, the biggest unknown quantity in this team purely because it’s tough to speculate which partnership Mourinho will settle on. Chris Smalling had an excellent first half of last season, but has yet to play under his new manager after his exertions at Euro 2016; Phil Jones is looking more and more like a goner each day; Daley Blind has filled in valiantly in the heart of defence but it isn’t his natural role; Eric Bailly has impressed in the early stages of his United career but remains raw and promising as opposed to a sure starter, and Marcos Rojo has to be on his way out of the club, if not for his sake, then for that of the club’s fans who have grown weary of the Argentine’s sub-standard performances.
So, who could potentially be added to the roster? Say Rojo and Jones leave the club this summer, who can Jose Mourinho bring in to sure up United’s defence?
Southampton’s Jose Fonte would be one. The Portuguese international has been with the South Coast side for six years, and is currently club captain, suggesting that sealing a deal would be less than simplistic, but his experience in the Premier League would allow him to slot into the United side with relative ease, and his presence and obvious leadership qualities would be a huge asset to a team that has lacked direction and a vocal presence in the last three years.
Joao Miranda, who current plies his trade in Italy for Inter Milan would be another option. The former Atletico Madrid defender has been on United’s radar before, and at 31, would represent another shorter-term prospect in order to offer some experience from the get-go, although his lack of English could be an issue.
Perhaps Fabinho? The Monaco right back’s rumoured signing would allow Timothy Fosu-Mensah a better chance of getting into the first team, something United would be keen to see. The Dutchman was a bright spark under Louis van Gaal last season, and if rumours of a contract extension are true, then perhaps the club would be willing to prime him for an opportunity or two.
But, with the Premier League season close, and Mourinho still needing to see all of his central defenders play properly before he can sanction another purchase, don’t expect any quick deals.