Manchester United could miss out on signing Brazilian right-back Fabinho this summer due to Manchester City’s plans to steal him from under their noses, according to reports in France.
Reliable French daily L’Equipe claims that the Citizens are close to sanctioning a bid for the AS Monaco man, and it could well be successful if they consent to stumping the cash upfront sooner rather than later.
The battle for Fabinho
Recent reports have detailed how United were keen on signing the defender, but the Red Devils were only said to be ready to put forward a proposal worth €14m, a figure less than what their Manchester rivals could attempt to trump them with.
A sale of such magnitude would represent an clear financial gain from Monaco, who only paid €5m for Fabinho recently after watching him impress on a two-year long loan spell from Portuguese outfit Rio Ave.
The 21-year-old proved himself useful not only defending during that time, but was also used as competent wingback going forward.
Indeed his form and young age appear to make him an attractive proposition for United and City, both of whom are looking to strengthen enough to be realistic threats to the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League title race next year.
With regards to United’s interest, that is said to stem from the fact that Van Gaal isn’t confident about using either Rafael da Silva or Antonio Valencia on the right-hand side of his defence next season.
The latter is more potent when deployed in an advanced position whilst the former may well be sold this summer after not having been given many chances last year.
The early bird
City meanwhile do boast Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, but for how long he will be a reliable option remains to be seen. The Argentinian will be 31 next January and so it could be that Etihad Stadium chiefs believe acquiring his natural successor now will bear fruit for the club in the future.
One thing is for sure, and that’s that Monaco will sell to the highest bidder. United have been linked with other right-backs - see the likes of Seamus Coleman and Nathaniel Clyne - who are more reputable names in the English game, but Van Gaal isn’t likely to want to surrender Fabinho to City easily if he does genuinely harbour interest in signing him.
United fans, do you think Van Gaal should match City’s bid for Fabinho if it’s forthcoming soon? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.