Manchester United and Barcelona interest in Jose Maria Gimenez has sparked Atletico Madrid into offering him a new contract to raise his release clause to £33million.
The Daily Mirror are claiming that Old Trafford and Camp Nou scouts, among others, have been very impressed with the 19-year-old’s performances for Uruguay at World Cup 2014. Gimenez thwarted Manchester United star Wayne Rooney in the group stage as England were defeated 2-1 by a Luis Suarez brace.
Impressive despite inexperience
The Premier League and La Liga giants would have been even more impressed with the Atletico youngster’s performances in the 1-0 win over Italy that took the Uruguayans into the round of 16. There a Colombia side inspired by James Rodriguez stopped them, but Gimenez’s trip to Brazil was personally successful.
Manchester United are in need of some defensive recruitment this summer, as new boss Louis van Gaal has lost two of his most experienced players. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have both left after their contracts expired.
More depth required
The Old Trafford club now only have Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans as viable centre-back options, though none have covered themselves in glory recently. Gimenez would be a very promising signing but is not really what Manchester United need at the moment.
Van Gaal, who will take over once his duties as Netherlands boss in Brazil are completed, has been linked with a number of centre-backs, so it is clear the Red Devils are addressing that area of the squad. The report claims Gimenez currently has a release clause in his contract worth £19.2million, which is part of the reason behind the planned new deal.
Barcelona’s interest is reported as them seeing the former Danubio youth product as an alternative to first choice target, PSG star Marquinhos. Going from Uruguay to Atletico to Barcelona or Manchester United would be a meteoric rise to prominence.
Especially as he has only made a single La Liga appearance for the Vicente Calderon club. The report claims Diego Simeone is very keen to ward of any interest in the promising talent and will act by giving him a new contract.
Too much risk
Gimenez’s new deal will see his wages tripled but, most crucially, his buyout clause will be bumped up to somewhere in the region of £33million. Manchester United should really have been flinching at the original buyout clause, so this raised one should end all interest.
While Gimenez is a talented young defender, the coming season is far too key to the immediate future of the club that they can’t take any big risks over recruitment.