Manchester United heading for transfer scramble over target Eliaquim Mangala

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Manchester United are heading for an almighty transfer tussle over Eliaquim Mangala after the World Cup, with Manchester City and Chelsea ready to join the Old Trafford club in trying to sign him.

Mangala is currently in Brazil with the France squad and will be deep in preparation for Les Bleus’ quarter-final clash with Germany on Friday evening. Mangala is unlikely to play in the match – he is yet to appear for France at the World Cup – but it is a huge game and focus is obligatory.

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Once their involvement in the World Cup is over, so it could be Friday or next week, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea will all set about trying to lure him in, according to the Manchester Evening News. The report claims the Porto centre-back is keen on a switch to the Premier League and all three teams are interested in him.

Van Gaal has options

Manchester United’s interest is not quite clear, however, as the report claims that Louis van Gaal is keen on both Thomas Vermaelen and Mats Hummels, so it is not guaranteed that the new Old Trafford boss will opt for Mangala, who could cost as much as £35million.

Whatever they do, there is no doubt that Manchester United need to recruit a centre-back this summer. Their two most experienced players in that area, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, have both been allowed to leave after their contracts expired.

City getting frustrated?

Manchester City, say the MEN, are probably the most keen on Mangala out of the trio and were close to landing him in the January transfer window. That would have been a double swoop including his Porto teammate Fernando, who has already completed a move to the Etihad Stadium this summer.

Last season was a terrific success for Manuel Pellegrini’s debut year in charge, but the Premier League and Capital One Cup winners did show vulnerability at times. Young sensation Matija Nastasic spent a significant amount of time injured and when he was joined on the sidelines by influential captain Vincent Kompany the Manchester City defence was prone to looking a bit shaky.

However, the report claims officials at the Etihad are becoming frustrated at the lack of action from the 23-year-old’s camp and could turn their attentions to alternatives.

Mourinho planning

Meanwhile, Chelsea are building for the future at Stamford Bridge and signing a youngster like Mangala is now becoming typical. Jose Mourinho has got John Terry performing back to something like his best, but the Chelsea captain will turn 34 in the middle of the season and is unlikely to be playing at the highest level for many more years.

Chelsea’s Portuguese manager has Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill as senior centre-backs, so may consider Mangala necessary for both cover and planning for the future.

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