Manchester United and Chelsea are poised to go head-to-head for Everton right-back Seamus Coleman when the transfer window re-opens in January. The Premier League giants are both expected to submit offers in the region of £20 million for the 25-year-old defender.
This is according to the Express, who cite reports as claiming that United boss Louis van Gaal and his counterpart at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, are both big fans of the Republic of Ireland international, who has been amongst the Premier League’s best full-backs over the past two seasons.
Everton desperate to keep Coleman
The biggest challenge United and Chelsea face in the battle for Coleman isn’t with each other - but, rather, convincing Everton to cash-in on the right-back. Toffees’ boss Roberto Martinez is understood to be desperate to keep the player at Goodison Park, and the Spanish coach is safe in the knowledge that Coleman is tied to the club until 2019.
The in-demand defender signed a new five-year contract with his current employers in June following his best campaign with Everton to date, in which he helped the club secure a fifth-place finish in the Premier League table, scoring six goals in 36 appearances in the process.
United want replacement for Rafael?
It seems Van Gaal is keen to sign Coleman as a replacement for United’s current first-choice right-back Rafael, the Brazil international who has blown hot and cold since arriving at Old Trafford from Fluminense in 2008.
The 24-year-old is brilliant one game, but a liability the next - and this lack of reliability may have convinced United’s current boss to step up his pursuit of Coleman, who has rarely let Everton down since joining the club from Sligo Rovers in 2009.
Chelsea unlikely to sign Dani Alves
Chelsea, meanwhile, will now make a bid for Coleman after learning that Dani Alves plans to stay with Barcelona next season. The Brazilian full-back had told reporters that he would be playing with an English club during the 2015-16 campaign, and Chelsea were reportedly favourites to sign him.
However, it appears this was merely a ploy by Alves and his agent to negotiate the best possible deal from Barcelona, who are banned from signing any new players until January 2016.
Chelsea still have the ultra-reliable Branislav Ivanovic at their disposal, while the younger Cesar Azpilicueta could switch to his favoured right-back position from left-back when Mourinho eventually decides to replace the former. But it seems Coleman is the man Mourinho wants in his squad from January onwards.