Jose Mourinho wants experienced centre-back at Manchester United

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When Jose Mourinho addressed the gathered press as Manchester United manager for the first time, he had already made two signings and was well on his way to a third.

Eric Bailly had arrived from Villarreal while Zlatan Ibrahimovic had agreed a one-year deal after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. A deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan was so close that even the Special One could barely keep it quiet.

But the only thing anyone could talk about afterwards was the fourth signing. Mourinho said the third addition, later confirmed as the Armenian playmaker, was as good as done but he would not rest on his laurels until number four had arrived. That number four, we now know, is Paul Pogba.


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Manchester United are trying desperately to agree a world record deal and could potentially end up paying £100million to bring the Juventus midfielder back four years after he departed. If and when that deal is done, we assumed United's transfer business would be done.

But according to Daily Record journalist Duncan Castles, Mourinho has since decided that he will require a fifth addition before the transfer window closes. The report, unfortunately, does not mention names but there is no doubt about the kind of player he is looking for.

One more signing

The Portuguese is keen to add another centre-back to the squad, one with a wealth of experience. Manchester United may have had the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League last season, conceding 35 goals, but Mourinho still believes they are fragile.

Indeed, there is a firm belief across the Manchester United fanbase that the record was garnered by the unadventurous football installed by Louis van Gaal rather than defensive organisation. With Mourinho looking to bring United back to their attacking ways, he feels the need to add further experience at the back.


As talented as some of the current defenders at Old Trafford are, none can boast a wealth of experience. Bailly, of course, has never played in English football while Smalling, with 150 Premier League appearances to his name, is the most experienced of the lot.

Phil Jones has played 139 times while Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw total 28 and 81 appearances respectively. Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, both of whom have struggled since moving to United, have been put up for sale.

Slim pickings

But experienced centre-backs are few and far between unless Mourinho wants to try and prise Laurent Koscielny away from Arsenal or John Terry from Chelsea. Neither of those deals are in any way viable while younger options would cost significant money. For example, John Stones, with 69 starts in the League, is valued at £50m.  

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