Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw are the likely four to start in defence during the curtain raiser against Leicester City next month.
United boss Mourinho has been left frustrated with the club’s efforts to bolster the backline this summer and so far, they have recruited just one defender in the form of Diogo Dalot, who won’t be available until September at the least.
Amidst this, the Portuguese tactician has appeared to confirm his back four for the league opener considering Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo are on vacation following their World Cup exploits.
“Valencia, Smalling, Bailly and Shaw, they are probably the ones to start the season,” he is quoted as saying by MUTV via M.E.N, prior to the pre-season friendly draw against Club America.
Juventus’ Alex Sandro and Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld have been highlighted as the prime defensive targets over the past month but so far, there has not been any formal approach with the exit of unwanted players being a concern.
United have managed to end the long-standing saga regarding Daley Blind after allowing him to re-join Ajax but they have yet to sort the same with Matteo Darmian, who has been strongly tipped for a move to Juventus.
Earlier last month, it had been suggested that Darmian could be offered in part-exchange deal to sign Sandro but the discussions have not really progressed with the latter now looking more likely to join Paris Saint-Germain.