Kicking-off Saturday’s Manchester United transfer round-up are reports suggesting Jose Mourinho is preparing to raid his former club, Chelsea, for defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
According to Spanish news outlet AS, the Red Devils are keen to add the Spanish international to their squad ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, with his versatility proving a key point of interest.
Azpilicueta found some of the best form of his career under Jose Mourinho, and the Portuguese tactician is now keen on a link-up with him again at Old Trafford.
Heralded by many as the most complete full-back in the division during Chelsea’s last Premier League title-winning campaign, he would prove an excellent signing for the Red Devils.
Naturally a right-back, the 26-year-old is capable of playing on either flank, just as he proved for Spain when he appeared as a substitute on the left-side of defence yesterday evening.
Believed to be available for around €15 million, he would represent a significant upgrade on Matteo Darmian – at least after the performances we have seen from the Italian in his debut season.
Last term, Azpilicueta averaged 3.1 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per appearance – bettering Darmian in both areas – while he managed to create twice as many scoring chances (0.8) and significantly more passes (48.6 to 33.4) than his counterpart.
Despite strong links with Old Trafford, they are expected to face fierce competition for his signature from Paris Saint-Germain and Athletic Bilbao.
Meanwhile, Basel striker Breel Embolo is also a target for Manchester United this summer, according to German publication Bild.
The reports suggests United have been in touch with the Switzerland international’s representatives and are thinking about putting in a bid in the next few weeks.
The 19-year-old has reportedly received an offer from Red Bull Leipzig, but United, who can offer a more lucrative financial package, are thought to be in pole position to complete a deal.
In the last two Premiership seasons, Embolo has made 54 league appearances, weighing in with 20 goals and twelve assists.
Furthermore, he boasts the added bonus of European experience, having featured in both the Champions and Europe League.
With supporters hoping to see Jose Mourinho focus on young talent during his time at Old Trafford, Embolo would no doubt be a welcome signing.
The teenager comes with a huge reputation thanks to his fantastic potential and the Portuguese head coach will be confident that he is the coach to unlock this ability.
Furthermore, if Zlatan Ibrahimovic does indeed make the switch to Old Trafford, as many sources are reporting, he could prove the perfect tutor for the Basel striker.
Finally, Phil Jones has been assured he has a future at Manchester United under new boss Mourinho, says the Mirror.
Having arrived at Old Trafford with a reputation on par with Embolo – as the next big thing in European football – he has drastically failed to live up to expectations.
With Mourinho having already signed central defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal, Jones looked to be facing an uncertain future at United.
However, it is understood Mourinho has faith in the Englishman despite his injury woes, and believes the 24-year-old can be like John Terry was for him at Chelsea.
Still only 24 years of age, it would only take a brief spell of form in the first team for the defender to reinvigorate himself as a Manchester United player.
A ball-playing defender, who boasts an excellent ability to read the game, he is exactly the type of player Mourinho will look favourably upon at Old Trafford, if only he can keep himself fit.
Whether he can emulate the success of Terry at Stamford Bridge remains to be seen, but there was obviously something about him to make the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson regard him so highly.
The then-21-year-old was once tipped by the Scot to become the club’s greatest ever player. Surely he would surpass the achievements of Terry if he were to reach that status at Old Trafford?
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