Manchester United have sent scouts to keep tabs on German World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes ahead of a possibly January move, according to reports.
Benedikt Howedes chase
Louis van Gaal is said to be keen to bolster his back-line following a series of calamitous performances so far this season and although Howedes is a key part of Schalke’s squad, he could be available for as little as £14 million.
At the moment Christ Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett and Marcos Rojo are considered first-choice centre-backs, but none of them have looked overly impressive during the early seasonal exchanges, and the amount of goals conceded is worrying.
As such Van Gaal is keen to address the issue, and a player of Howedes obvious experience would certainly fit the bill. Other targets include Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte and Mats Hummels, though the latter looks like he'll be considerably harder to prise away.
Meanwhile the Red Devils could also launch a shock raid for ex-Chelsea and Arsenal star Ashley Cole, who is currently merely a few months into a loan spell with AS Roma. The former England international hasn’t settled well in Italy, and it’s said manager Rudi Garcia has tasked scouts with finding a replacement.
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Ex-Southampton starlet Luke Shaw was purchased in the summer, and Rojo and Daley Blind can also occupy the position on the left-hand side of the defence, but as has already been discussed the defence at Old Trafford is in stark need of some experience; experience Cole is possessive of.
Lastly United have been given extra fuel ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby, as Aleksander Kolarov has claimed Manchester City have been superior for years. United enter the game on a four match unbeaten run, but will know a loss could be dangerously demoralising.
Coming off the back of a dramatic draw with league leaders Chelsea will have given Van Gaal's outfit hope, but if City start strongly and take an early lead then things could go downhill very quickly indeed.