Jose Mourinho has never been short of defenders during his time in charge of Manchester United. Since taking over from Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2016, the Portuguese has added Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly to the ranks at centre back, and has been happy to loan out Timothy Fosu-Mensah to Crystal Palace for the entirety of last season. Cover has been available at both left and right back, with Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian both available to step in for Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia if required.
Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story; Young and Valencia, both converted wingers signed during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign are in their early 30s, and Shaw and Darmian have both been unable to depose them regularly in the starting XI. As such, whilst United may be blessed with numbers in defence, quality is in short supply, so news earlier this summer of a move for Juventus left-back Alex Sandro certainly made sense; Shaw’s time at United appears to have come to an end, whilst Young cannot be expected to perform consistently and to a high-standard for much longer.
The reigning Serie A champions appear less-than willing to allow their Brazilian defender to leave Italy, however, if this report in the Manchester Evening News is anything to go by.
“We will meet next week with his representative and I think there’s a desire to extend the contract,” Juve chief executive Guiseppe Moratta is quoted as saying. This is certainly a blow to United’s hopes of landing the 27-year old, given how highly Sandro is regarded across the continent. Still, with the summer in its infancy, and the club reportedly having several options in each of the positions in which they wish to strengthen, there’s every chance that the club won’t be left wanting, and will simply turn their attention to another target.