In Brief

Man Utd transfer news: Kalidou Koulibaly, Milan Skriniar, Gary Cahill, Eric Bailly

Jose Mourinho plans a defensive overhaul with big names tipped to sign in January

Mourinho eyes £88m centre-back

Jose Mourinho has finally decided how to plug his leaky defence – by spending £88m on Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.

According to Metro the beleaguered United boss has “specifically requested” the signing of Koulibaly in January.

“The 27-year-old has established himself at the heart of Napoli’s defence with his impressive performances and has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona,” says the paper, which adds that the Senegal international is valued at £88m by his Italian club.

Whether or not United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward sanctions such a move remains to be seen. Attempts to sign Toby Alderweireld from Spurs and Harry Maguire from Leicester for much smaller sums failed in the summer.

But £53m bid for Skriniar is rejected

Another potential target for United is Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar, says The Sun. But the paper claims an offer of £53m has already been turned down by the Italian club.

The Slovakian has attracted interest from top clubs thanks to his performances in Serie A in recent seasons and Mourinho is “fond” of the 23-year-old, explains the paper.

“The Slovakia international was among centre-backs considered to bolster United's patchy defensive line over the summer,” claims the Sun, which adds Mourinho “is considering making a move for the Inter defender once the winter transfer window opens”.             

But they will have to dig deep to land him with an offer of £53m already rejected. 

Veterans Godin and Cahill on the radar

Yet another big name centre-back who is being monitored by United is Diego Godin of Atletico Madrid.

Despite the fact he is 32 and rejected a £20m deal to bring him to Old Trafford last summer, Mourinho is still keen on the Uruguay hard man, says the Daily Mirror.

Godin has yet to sign a new deal with Atletico and United could swoop for the veteran in the summer if talks fail.

In the meantime, the paper claims that another old timer, Gary Cahill of Chelsea, is being lined up for a loan move in January to shore up the Old Trafford defence.

Spurs and Arsenal want Bailly

United’s interest in Koulibaly is also mentioned in the Daily Record in Scotland, which says that there could be some Old Trafford exits in January to make room. To that end the paper claims that Arsenal and Spurs are sniffing around out-of-favour defender Eric Bailly.

“The Cote d'Ivoire defender - brought to Manchester United for an initial transfer fee of €35million in the summer of 2016 - has been frustrated by his recent exclusion from the first team and is unsettled at the club,” says the paper.

He was hauled off after just 19 minutes against Newcastle and has not featured for United since. But despite his troubles the paper says: “Mourinho believes the African possesses the attributes to develop into an elite defender. He would prefer not to sell an individual whose strong initial progress at Old Trafford stalled during a second season disrupted by injury and international absences.”

Everton in for Rojo...

Another United defender who could be heading for the exit is Marcos Rojo, according to Metro.

“The Argentine is yet to feature for the Red Devils this season and Jose Mourinho is happy to let him go in order to raise funds for a new centre-back in January,” says the paper.

“Rojo signed a new long-term deal with United last March but the club were simply protecting their £16million investment in the 28-year-old.”

Wolves and Everton were both interested in the player in the summer, and Everton have reportedly opened talks over a January move.

...or do they want Smalling?

It’s not Rojo that Everton want, it’s Chris Smalling, claims The Sun, which says the Toffees are hoping to pick up the England man on a free transfer this summer.

Smalling has held talks over a new deal at Old Trafford but wants £90,000 a week to stay. If a deal is not thrashed out the defender could leave for free.

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