The End Of Smalling/Jones? Mourinho Targets £30m-Rated Centre Back Signing, Deal Likely

Man Utd Jose Mourinho is looking to add more grit and steel to his back four and is eyeing a move for Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.

The claim comes from Daily Mirror’s Steve Bates, who thinks that Mourinho is not happy with his current options in the defence.

Reports in recent time have repeatedly emphasised that Mourinho is not happy with his defensive players at the moment, and thinks that they lack qualities like ‘mental strength’, ‘leadership’, and ‘aggression’. The United manager now wants to bring £30m-rated Dutch defender to strengthen his backline in January. And to be honest, this is one deal that is likely to happen considering Southampton are never afraid to sell their best players for the right money. Once the money is right, they sell.

Following his arrival at Old Trafford, Mourinho’s first piece of business was to sign Eric Bailly from Villarreal. The Ivorian is currently ruled out after suffering knee ligament damage at Chelsea.

However, besides Bailly, no one has seemed to impress Mourinho this season. The likes of Daley Blind and Marcus Rojo have been found wanting on occasions. It has been strongly claimed that the Argentine will be on his way out of the club in January.

Phil Jones made his first appearance of the season in the 3-1 win over Swansea, but I don’t think Mourinho sees him as a long-term option in his squad.

Chris Smalling, who was immense for us last season, hasn’t escaped criticism from the Portuguese manager either. Smalling, along with Luke Shaw, were questioned about their commitments by Mourinho after our game against the Swans.

“Smalling doesn’t feel that he can play 100% with his pain. Shaw told me this morning that he was not able to play.”

“For the team, you have to do anything.”

“There is a difference between the brave, who want to play at any cost and the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference.

“If I were to speak with the many great football people of this team, they will say they played many times without being 100%.

“We have players on the pitch with problems. In every sport, how many times do you play and you’re not 100%?”

These comments from our manager have led to multiple reports today claiming that all is not well in the club and the Smalling and Shaw are facing the axe. I don’t think that there is any rift of any kind between the players and the manager. I think our manager was just trying to provoke our players ahead of the game against the Swans.

However, I do believe that Mourinho wants to buy another centre-back in January. Towards the end of the summer window, we were strongly linked with Southampton’s Jose Fonte, but a move never materialised.

We have also been linked with the likes of Raphael Varane, Leonardo Bonucci and Diego Godin recently. Bonucci and Godin are both 30+ and will still demand a huge amount of money. Similarly, Varane won’t come cheap either.

I think that van Dijk is one of the best central defenders in the Premier League now. He is also only 25-year-old, and at £30m, could prove to be an excellent signing.