Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has made Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne his first choice in the search for a new right-back, ahead of Barcelona star Dani Alves.
That doesn't mean the Brazil star definitely won't end up at Old Trafford, but Van Gaal is conscious that Paris Saint-Germain are desperate to add Alves to their contingent of Selecao internationals and with that in mind would be happy to sign Clyne instead.
Van Gaal also has strong competition for Clyne in the form of Premier League rivals Chelsea, but The Mirror believes he's a far more attainable target for the Red Devils as Europe's top clubs queue up to chase Alves this summer.
Van Gaal wants a specialist
United have clearly lacked a right-back that Van Gaal trusts to excel in the position during his first season in charge, thanks largely to his indifferent opinion of Rafael.
Antonio Valencia has often filled in but long-term that's not a situation Van Gaal wants to continue, which means right-back is not far behind centre-back as an area United are desperate to strengthen during the close season.
Clyne clearly fits the bill
Perhaps making a conscious effort to recruit youthful, long-term options is behind the thinking which places Clyne ahead of Alves, an England international who has enhanced his reputation significantly with performances this season.
Clyne is also out of contract next summer, which mean he's in a very strong negotiating position and could be available at a relatively low price.
Alves can of course leave Barca on a free transfer himself this summer, but he'll expect a whopping six-figure salary each week and at 31 is perhaps just heading past the very peak of his powers.
The Red Devils would prefer to recruit a player that can spend his best years at Old Trafford, which is something Clyne is definitely capable of doing should they bite the bullet and beat Chelsea to one of the Premier League's most impressive full-backs.
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