The Red Devils have had an unstable backline all season, with injuries consistently plaguing one defender or another. Moreover, apart from the fitness problems, Mourinho has also been unhappy with the commitment and desire shown by some of his defensive players, as evident from his several critical public outbursts from time to time.
Amongst the current crop of Manchester United defenders, the likes of Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling are the ones that face the most uncertain future, and Jose is already believed to be in the market to find world-class replacements for this duo.
The Old Trafford outfit has already been linked with numerous left-backs, but the Portuguese tactician seems to be concentrating on center-halves at the moment, and he has reportedly identified two defenders playing in La Liga as his potential targets.
The first of the two is none other than Raphael Varane – the French center-back who was signed for Real Madrid by Mourinho himself, back in 2011.
The 24-year-old has failed to permanently secure a spot in Los Blancos’ backline under the management of Zinedine Zidane, and with regular game time not completely guaranteed, the young defender remains on the lookout for a starting role – be it in the Spanish capital, or at any other top European club.
In fact, if some reports are to be believed, Zidane is already prepared to let go of the France international if he manages to lure Juve’s Leonardo Bonucci to the Bernabeu this summer.
However, if United fail to sign Varane nonetheless, Mourinho will then turn his attention towards Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez.
The 22-year-old has already lost his starting spot in the Rojiblancos’ lineup to Stefan Savic, who has formed a strong partnership with Diego Godin in central defence. The youngster could, therefore, be tempted to move to the Theatre of Dreams and play regular football under the Special One.
Although, it remains to be seen whether United, who were previously rumoured to be reluctant to meet the Uruguay international’s £38m valuation, cough up that asking price in the upcoming transfer window.
Written by Kunal Kambli