Manchester United are set to go head-to-head with Barcelona in an attempt to sign Brazilian defender Joao Miranda from Atletico Madrid.
Both sides are in desperate need of a centre-half and the 29-year-old could well be the man to fill the gap.
Miranda made 52 appearances for the La Liga champions in all competitions last season, and played a key part in their run to the final of the UEFA Champions League.
As a result of his consistent performances, he was named in Brazil’s 30-man provisional FIFA World Cup squad as was one of seven players on standby.
Louis van Gaal is keen to bring him to Old Trafford to provide some much-needed experience into the heart of the back four. Following the sales of Nemanja Vidic to Inter Milan and Rio Ferdinand to Queens Park Rangers, the average age of United’s options at centre-half is just 24.
Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are the only recognised senior central defenders at the club and with domestic and European medals, Miranda will certainly provide an older head at the back and will want to bring that winning momentum back to the red half of Manchester.
Barca are also in need of some class at centre-half following the retirement of Carles Puyol. Gerard Pique and 22-year-old Marc Bartra are the only recognised players of their position at the Nou Camp, and who better to bring in to strengthen for a better title challenge than someone that has just won it?
The only downside to a move is the continuation of what has become somewhat of an exodus at Vicente Calderon. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has returned to Chelsea after his loan spell expired, while star striker Diego Costa and Filipe Luis have joined him at Stamford Bridge.
David Villa has moved to New York City while there is speculation linking Arda Turan with a transfer away. With all this going on, Atletico are now almost clutching at straws to keep some of the title-winning squad together. It is spine players like Miranda that they will need to keep if they are to mount another challenge at defending their crown.
Miranda has spent three years in the Spanish capital after joining from Sao Paulo, and during that time he has won four trophies under Diego Simeone.
The first was the UEFA Europa League in 2012 before the UEFA Super Cup followed, where he scored the third in a 4-1 win over Chelsea. He also scored the winner in the Copa del Ray success over rivals Real Madrid in 2013, before he was a rock at the back during the title victory last season.
Wherever his future lies, he will definitely want to add to his trophy haul.
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