Manchester United are set to make an offer for Philippe Mexes, according to recent transfer speculation.
The Red Devils - clearly in need of at least one new defender prior to this month's deadline - were heavily linked with a £24 million offer for Roma centre-back and Chelsea target Mehdi Benatia over the weekend, with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich said to have moved swiftly to match that particular bid.
With Manchester United obviously not entirely confident of succeeding with their pursuit of the in-demand Moroccan international, reports from Italy brought to our attention by The Daily Express suggest that the club are lining-up AC Milan's Mexes as something of a contingency option.
Indeed, the same source suggests that Manchester United will pursue an offer for the Frenchman, who could supposedly be available for a cheap price with his current contract at the San Siro due to expire in 2015.
If anyone was left in any doubt regarding the chronic lack of quality defender in Louis van Gaal's squad, then the hugely disappointing 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on the opening day of the Premier League season at Old Trafford will have really hit home.
With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand having left and not been suitably replaced this sumer, Van Gaal was left to field debutant Tyler Blackett alongside Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in a particularly uninspiring three-man central defensive unit.
Such an inexperienced trio are obviously in desperate need of direction, particularly if Manchester United are to return to the top four this season.
While supporters may be excited about the potential of the talented Benatia joining the club, it remains to be seen if there is the same sense of positivity regarding Mexes.
Although the 32-year-old - who has won 29 caps for his native France - would certainly bring a wealth of experience to Manchester United, his best days are arguably now merely a distant memory and his signing would perhaps be one of the clearest indications yet that Van Gaal and heavily-criticised executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have totally failed to land their primary transfer targets.
Mexes featured on 22 occasions during what was a thoroughly miserable 2013/14 campaign for Milan, scoring two goals.
It seems unlikely that he will be offered a new long-term contract prior to next summer, with the Rossoneri presumably looking to head in a slightly new direction under the management of legendary striker Filippo Inzaghi.