Jose Mourinho Expects Manchester United Defensive Signing In Transfer Window
Jose Mourinho expects the Manchester United board to reinforce the central defence in the January transfer window after their failure to clinch a defensive signing in the summer.
Sources have told the MEN Mourinho has continued to discuss the centre-back issue in front of colleagues after United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was unable to conclude a deal for one in the summer.
United were outpriced for a move for £75million-rated Milan Skriniar by Internazionale, failed to reach a breakthrough with Tottenham for Toby Alderweireld. United’s sudden interest in Leicester defender Harry Maguire came to nought and, although they triggered Diego Godin’s release clause, the Atletico Madrid stalwart had no intention of leaving the Spanish capital.
Skriniar and Maguire have since signed long-term deals with their clubs but Alderweireld has refused to commit to Spurs and is technically approaching the last six months of his contract. His existing deal features a one-year extension in the summer which automatically triggers a £25m release clause.
Mourinho claimed it was ‘almost impossible’ for United to record a clean sheet after the 2-1 win over Everton on Sunday. United have kept one clean sheet from 10 Premier League matches this season and conceded 17 when, after the same amount of fixtures last season, they had shipped just four. United did not sieve their 17th league goal last term until the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on January 31st, which was their 25th game.
“We are not as solid as I would like, we are not as rock solid as I would like, we don’t have the killer instinct I would like. Some teams with three chances score three goals and some teams without the ball can resist and keep clean sheets all the time.
“For us in this moment is almost impossible to keep a clean sheet even with the phenomenal goalkeeper we have and to score goals is really difficult for us.”
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng claimed he personally told Mourinho in a telephone conversation he wanted to stay in Germany, although senior United sources played down their interest in the Germany international and derided Boateng’s injury record.
Mourinho’s issues at centre half are exacerbated by his dependence on Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof, who have started the last three matches in an axis. United tried to sell the injury-prone Marcos Rojo in the summer, Mourinho has frozen out Phil Jones in recent weeks and Eric Bailly has not played since he was substituted in the 19th minute against Newcastle at the start of the month. Mourinho has played Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic in defence this season.
Bailly and Lindelof, both 24, were signed at a combined cost of £60.9m on Mourinho’s watch but have started as a duo just twice.