The Italy international has been on Premier League radars before, having thoroughly excelled at former club Torino, where he rose through the youth ranks.
The 26 year-old only joined the Old Lady in 2013, playing a rotational role in last season’s Serie A haul. But he could suffer a slump in game-time under new boss Max Allegri, and the Red Devils are monitoring the situation for further developments.
That being said, it’s hardly the most secure transfer strategy – bidding for a defender that’s already made four of a potential five starts in the league this season. So the Old Trafford side need to consider some alternatives. And just in case Louis van Gaal is short on ideas, we’ve listed FIVE for him.
Manchester United should have been all over Jan Vertonghen months ago – the Tottenham defender is one of the Premier League’s leading centre-backs and epitomises Louis van Gaal’s attacking ethos perfectly.
The 27 year-old gained his standing in England through marauding centre-half displays during his inaugural Premier League season, finishing up with seven goals in all competitions. Here’s a look at his stats from that campaign:
And a look at the Belgium international in action:
Manchester United’s defence has lacked that kind of front-footed, ball-playing presence ever since Rio Ferdinand’s pace began to wane and his leadership qualities will be vital to a Red Devils backline that’s lacked organisation this season.
And rather fortuitously, a prime transfer opportunity has come the Old Trafford side’s way. Despite expectancies otherwise during the summer, the former Ajax defender has just ended contract talks at White Hart Lane:
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) September 25, 2014
That could pave the way for a January switch, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is famed for his refusal to sell the club’s top talents to rival Premier League sides.
Likely transfer fee:£25million-£35million.
If it’s a Vertonghen mould of centre-back Louis van Gaal is after, then a cheaper alternative comes in the form of regularly-mooted Arsenal and Spurs target Fabian Schar:
— Talking THFC™ (@TalkingTHFC) September 20, 2014
Statistically, the 22 year-old was the best defender in the Champions League last season, as viewable below:
And the Swiss international’s World Cup performances weren’t too bad either, making eight interceptions during two outings at Brazil 2014.
Another front-footed, goal-friendly defender, Schar currently takes spot kick duties for Basel and also netted this wonder-strike during his FC Wil days:
Here’s a closer look at Schar in action:
A lack of experience in a European top flight is a major gap the Basel prodigy CV. But also targeted by the likes of Barcelona, he remains one of the most exciting defensive prospects in world football.
Likely transfer fee:£8million-£12million
Ron Vlaar was linked with a Manchester United switch for much of the summer, having emerged as a key component in Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side that reached Brazil 2014’s third-place play-off.
But with the Aston Villa defender’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, rumours suggesting Vlaar could be on his way to Old Trafford, this time in January, have recently resurfaced:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) September 23, 2014
Concrete Ron may not be the most talented centre-back to ever grace Old Trafford but he’s as tough as, well, concrete, and Manchester United’s defence needs an imposing, dominant figure like Vlaar at the heart of it.
The 29 year-old is well proven in the Premier League too, having played an intrinsic role in keeping the Villians in the top flight over the last two seasons.
Furthermore, as previously discussed, his World Cup displays were nothing short of talismanic – here’s a look at Vlaar in action for Oranje:
With fears of a bosman departure in mind, Aston Villa will be forced to sell in January if they’re approached with a fair offer. But there are rumours the centre-back is about to enter contract talks with his current club:
— Sports Mole Football (@SMFooty) September 24, 2014
Likely transfer fee:£4million-£8million.
Manchester United have tried and failed in their arduous pursuit of Mats Hummels, the latest nail in the coffin coming in the form of this recent declaration:
— The Sun – Football (@TheSunFootball) October 1, 2014
But the Red Devils may find more luck with defensive partner Neven Subotic, especially now that Jurgen Klopp is privy to three top-quality centre-halves, including Greek international Sokratis.
A dependable, more passive centre-back than Hummels, the 25 year-old often doesn’t get the credit he deserves. No doubt however, Subotic is one of Europe’s top defenders – just take a look at his stats so far this season:
Here’s the Serbian international in action:
His pace, reading of the game and composure on the ball particularly stand out – those characteristics would fit into Louis van Gaal’s attacking philosophy perfectly too.
Likely transfer fee:£15million-£25million
Manchester United have already been linked with a January bid for Atletico Madrid stopper Miranda, with rumours that misfit midfielder Juan Mata could go the other way:
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) September 26, 2014
The 30 year-old is a passive but consistent prescene and rarely makes mistakes, as shown in the statistics below:
The now-retired Brazil international was earmarked as a Manchester United target before he moved to Vincente Calderon in summer 2011. And his role in the Mattress Makers’ remarkable 2013/14 campaign, that saw them claim the La Liga title and reach a Champions League final, has grabbed United’s attention once again.
Indeed, the discipline learned under Diego Simeone could prove vital in transforming United’s disorganised backline, and reports claim Miranda would be keen on a move to the Premier League.
But Chelsea are known long-term suitors of South American and could also revive their interest in January.
Likely transfer fee:£20million-£30million.