THREE’S A CROWDJose Mourinho is plotting a January overhaul of Manchester United’s defence which could see Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind all leave Old Trafford.
United have the second-worst defensive record in the top 10 of the Premier League this season, having conceded 12 goals, with four of those coming in the 4-0 thrashing at Chelsea.
And according to the Daily Mail, a number of sloppy displays have convinced Mourinho that only new recruits can solve the Red Devils’ problems at the back.
England international Smalling, one of the few players to impress under Mourinho’s predecessor Louis van Gaal, was particular poor at Stamford Bridge and is understood to have been “berated” by the Portuguese after the match.
Blind, meanwhile, started the season impressively at centre-back, but his form has curtailed in recent weeks and the Holland international has also struggled at left-back, while Rojo has failed to nail down a regular starting spot in his two years at United amid questions whether he is up to scratch.
The report suggests Mourinho wants to sign a right-back and centre-half in January, with Roma’s Germany international Antonio Rudiger among the targets. The 23-year-old can operate at both positions but would cost £35million.
Mourinho would still want a natural right-back to compete with Antonio Valencia, as Matteo Darmian is likely to be sold with a return to Serie A on the cards.
Eric Bailly is currently the only defender at the club to fully convince the former Chelsea boss, with Luke Shaw also struggling to earn Mourinho’s trust.
BARCA TO RAID REDSLiverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne has emerged as a transfer target for Barcelona.
Barca are desperate to sign a new right-back after failing to replace Dani Alves, who left for Juventus in the summer.
Aleix Vidal has failed to establish himself at the Camp Nou and is expected to leave in January, while Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano have both been used in the position this season.
Reports this week suggested Glen Johnson was a shock name on a list of targets for the Spanish giants, but according to The Sun, Barca want to sign Johnson’s replacement at Liverpool.
Barca are willing to pay £20million to land England international Clyne, who would be eligible to play in the Champions League.
AND THE REST– LA Galaxy are hopeful of luring Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to the MLS, with the 31-year-old lined up to replace Steven Gerrard (The Sun)
– Henrikh Mkhitaryan is determined to stay and fight for his place at Manchester United, despite being surprised at his lack of involvement with the first team this term (The Guardian)
– Stoke winger Xherdan Shaqiri is a January target for Serie A outfit Roma (Daily Mirror)
– Sunderland remain convinced that David Moyes is the right man for the manager’s job, despite the Black Cats’ abysmal start to the season (Daily Express)
– Liverpool have beaten Stoke to the signing of 15-year-old Bury prodigy Emeka Obi, who has already appeared in the League One side’s first team (Daily Mail)
– Wolves hopes of appointing former Sporting Lisbon and Olympiakos manager Marco Silva could be dashed by Inter Milan, should the Italian giants sacked Frank De Boer (Daily Mirror)
– Hull will offer Ravel Morrison an escape from his Lazio exile in January (Daily Star)
– Bournemouth are willing to listen to offers for former Leeds winger Max Gradel in January (Daily Mirror)
– Manchester United reserve team manager Warren Joyce is the latest name to be linked with the Wigan job (Daily Mail)
– Norwich and Fulham will battle to sign Eibar’s £4million-rated midfielder Sergi Enrich (Daily Star/Daily Mirror)