The Senegal defender has been a target for Manchester United for ages, but Napoli have stood firm in an attempt to keep hold of one of their most prized assets, even raising his valuation to unreasonable amounts at times to ward of the English giants and any other poachers from across the continent. And now that Jose Mourinho is no longer the manager at Old Trafford, it won’t be surprising if the club opts to completely shut their interests in the Koulibaly.
That does not mean that the existing defenders at United are up to scratch, far from it. The likes of Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo have been triers, but fans (and perhaps interim manager Ole Gunnar Solkajaer) know that the club needs better defenders across the pitch if they are to reclaim their place atop the pecking order in England and Europe. So instead of coughing up exorbitant amounts like €100 million for a defender who is 27 and is being held onto as tightly as possible by his club, here are three cheaper, more viable options that the Red Devils can pursue in order to refresh and improve their backline.
#3 Alessandro Florenzi
Another one of the myriad defenders linked to United over the past couple of seasons, the 27-year-old has been one of the better performers AS Roma this season, making 19 appearances in all competitions for the Serie A giants. The Italian is young enough to be the perfect replacement for aging Valencia and perhaps even countryman Matteo Darmian, who seems likely to make an exit with his contract expiring at the end of this season. The Red Devils will surely need a right-back who can actually do the deeds both in attack and defence, which will bring and end to their experimentation with make-shift wingers playing in that position.
Diogo Dalot was signed in the summer by Mourinho, and seems to have impressed enough to suggest he could be one for the future, but every position on the pitch needs healthy competition, and with Unite surely aiming to fight on multiple fronts every season, it makes sense to have two equal players to share the workload. This makes Florenzi the right man to target for Solskjaer, who will look to reinforce his back-line and replace an aging core with younger, hungrier and more capable stars.