Atletico Madrid ace Man United’s top January target

Atletico Madrid centre-back Joao Miranda is Manchester United’s number one target heading into the January transfer window, according to reports from Fichajes.

Manager Louis van Gaal is rumoured to have made defensive reinforcements a priority as he plots additions next month, after seeing his current backline options decimated by injuries this season.

Although Mats Hummels of Dortmund has long been considered to be the Red Devils’ preferred choice, reports now suggest that Miranda is the player LVG wants.

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The Brazilian has been a key man at Atleti in recent seasons, playing a massive role in their league and cup successes, as well as the memorable run to the Champions League Final earlier this year.

But at 30, the Rojiblancos may be wiling to sell, particularly with youngster Jose Gimenez having impressed this term.

Miranda has a release clause of around £25m in his contract, but with his deal set to end in 2016, United are likely to make an offer significantly lower than that sum.