With Jose Mourinho reportedly claiming that Dutch international Daley Blind doesn’t fit the physical profile he wants in a centre-back, it seems as though the new Manchester United manager will look to buy a central defender this summer.
The Portuguese coach knows highly-rated youngster Raphael Varane very well, having bought the Frenchman during his tenure at Real Madrid. United have also been linked with the likes of Everton’s John Stones, Paris Saint-Germain starlet Marquinhos, and even West Ham’s 17-year-old Reece Oxford.
However, Roma’s star defender Kostas Manolas would be an excellent signing for this year’s FA Cup winners and the ideal man to partner Chris Smalling under Mourinho next season as the “Special One” looks to mount a serious title challenge.
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Many reports in Italy are claiming that Man United have already met with Manolas’ agent and had preliminary talks over a possible summer move.
Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio believes that Mourinho is a big fan of Manolas, who turns 25 later this month, and is keen to bring him to Old Trafford. That said, the Red Devils could face competition for his signature from the likes of Arsenal and Mourinho’s former club Chelsea.
Why should United sign Manolas?
Manolas has firmly established himself as the leader of Roma’s defence, making 45 appearances and helping the Italian side to a third-placed finish in Serie A last season. He played every minute of their Champions League campaign and missed just one league match, scoring twice.
The 24-year-old is by no means the finished product such as Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin or PSG captain Thiago Silva, but he has everything you would want in a modern defender. He is very quick and he isn’t afraid to bring the ball out from the back because he has neat feet. Meanwhile, he is also a good passer and sharp in possession.
As you would expect from a Greek international, Manolas is very disciplined in his defensive work and more than willing to put his body on the line to prevent the opposition from scoring. The ex-Olympiacos man is also reliable in the air at set-pieces and excels at intercepting play and snuffing out attacks.
United’s centre-back options
Chris Smalling has been excellent over the last two years, but as already mentioned, Mourinho has raised serious doubts over the future of Blind, who himself had an outstanding season. The injury-prone Phil Jones only started six league games last season and Marcos Rojo still looks unconvincing at times defensively, while talented 18-year-old Timothy Fosu-Mensah is very inexperienced at senior level.
For those reasons, Manolas would be welcomed to the club should he arrive at Old Trafford in the transfer window.
In signing the Roma star, Man United would be getting one of Europe’s most promising young defenders and he would certainly give the Red Devils the defensive solidity on which to achieve success over the coming years.