Manchester United are expected to butt heads with cross-town rivals Manchester City in their pursuit of a new centre-back, as both sides have Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter’s Milan Škriniar on their wish lists.
United are keen to continue their upwards momentum by strengthening in defence, but they will likely have to fend off City, who are desperate to bolster at the back after a hugely disappointing campaign which has seen Pep Guardiola lose more league games than he ever has in a single season.
Of the two, City are expected to push harder for a new centre-back. The Independent state that Koulibaly is right at the top of Guardiola’s wish list, but the problem is that United have been tracking him for years as well and are on the hunt for a new defender.
90min previously revealed that Napoli are prepared to lower their £100m asking price to something closer to the £75m mark, and while that is still expensive for a 29-year-old, it is no longer outside the realm of possibility.
If City cannot land Koulibaly, they could turn to Škriniar, and Inter are thought to be willing to part with the 25-year-old if they can land striker Sergio Agüero in exchange.
While the idea of City letting Agüero go sounds a little crazy, the club are understood to be prepared to let the Argentine choose when he leaves City and they will not block his next move, so if he did express a desire to leave – perhaps if the Champions League ban is not overturned – this move could heat up.
However, as with Koulibaly, they will face competition from United, who are huge fans of Škriniar and are unlikely to allow City to land the player unopposed.
With United still pursuing Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish, they may not have the money to strike a blockbuster deal for either Koulibaly or Škriniar, so cheaper options have been discussed.
Swansea City’s Joe Rodon is on the radar, and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano has plenty of fans at Old Trafford, but United are still waiting to figure out the full extent of the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak before they commit to their plans.
For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!