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Manchester United: Talks with Fonte; Palace want winger; Mourinho to copy former club’s model

ESPN report that there may not be long to wait until a move for Southampton captain and Portugal hero Jose Fonte has been confirmed, with the club having began talks with the central defender as they prepare to make a bid this week, reportedly for a fee of £8 million. Reports indicate that Southampton are unlikely to stand in the way of Fonte’s dream move after his loyalty to the club from League 1 to the Premier League over the past few years.

That is great news for Jose Mourinho, who is desperate for more defensive cover, with new signing and Sunday’s man of the match Eric Bailly set to be called up to the African Cup of Nations and miss much of January for the Red Devils. Fonte will also bring bags of experience, something currently missing in the United backline, and has proven himself to be one of the most reliable central defenders in the Premier League with Southampton.

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Elsewhere, the Express are reporting that the club have turned down a loan offer from Crystal Palace for unwanted 31-year-old midfielder Ashley Young. Palace see Young as a capable replacement for Yannick Bolasie who would bring experience to Selhurst Park as well as quality but they favour a loan move due to his wage demands and age. United are said to have rejected the offer and have made it clear that they will only accept a permanent offer for the former Aston Villa and Watford man.

Palace have cash to spend following the £25 million fee paid for Yannick Bolasie by Everton, but much of that fee is expected to be re-invested in securing the services of a top striker, with Loic Remy and Christian Benteke mentioned, leaving little cash to spare for a move for Young. Whether Pardew will be forced to change that or find a bargain up front remains to be seen, but that seems to be the only way in which they will make a permanent offer for Young. They may alternatively hope that United will become desperate to get rid of the former England international as Mourinho has made it clear that he does not form part of his plans this season.

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Mourinho is also set to look back to his time at Chelsea with regards to the youth system by loaning out many of the most talented youngsters to get first team football across Europe and the Football League. With a number of fringe first team players like Adnan Januzaj and Guillermo Varela already having departed on loan, the Manchester Evening News now claim that Mourinho is set to decimate Warren Joyce’s under 23 sides.

Chelsea’s system has been criticised by many as taking advantage of the loan system and for having such a large squad, but there are clear incentives for United to follow suit. By sending young players out on loan they will gain invaluable first team experience and return more ready to fight for a place in the United team. However, critics will claim that it continues to show Mourinho’s reluctance to experiment with young players and his poor track record of youth development.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.

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