Jose Mourinho set sights on signing £53Million centre-back amid defensive concerns

Samuel Umtiti

Jose Mourinho is reportedly concerned about Manchester United’s defensive outlook despite keeping eight clean sheets in just 11 Premier League games. The Red Devils are presently eight points behind table-toppers Manchester City following a poor run which has included just one victory in four matches.

According to Diario Gol, the Portuguese tactician is worried over United’s backline, although the club have conceded just five goals in the top-flight this season. The likes of Phil Jones and Eric Bailly have impressed at the heart of the United defence, but there is still an uncertainty in the backup department.

While Chris Smalling has gone with his duties quietly, the same cannot be said about summer signing Victor Lindelof, who has seemingly lost the faith of the manager following his blunder which cost his side in a surprise 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town last month.

As a result, Mourinho has set his sights on pursuing a new centre-back for the New Year with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti leading the shortlist, Diario Gol claims. The France international currently has a £53m release clause which United are prepared to activate with the promise of a bumper wage package to lure him to Old Trafford.

However, the deal is not straightforward with Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde likely to block any mid-season move. The former Lyon man is currently contracted to the Camp Nou outfit until 2020, and the Spanish side could yet discuss a fresh deal to increase his minimum escape clause.

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