Manchester United have been dealt a major blow, with Borussia Dortmund closing in on FC Basel defender Manuel Akanji, reports Kicker.
The 22-year-old, who joined the Swiss side from FC Winterthur for around £600k in 2015, has been a regular for the perennial Super League champions this season. He’s made 19 league appearances, helping Basel to six clean sheets as they sit in second place, two points off leaders Young Boys.
Jose Mourinho was reportedly very keen to procure his signature due to problems with his own defence. Eric Bailly has been injured, while Victor Lindelof has been short of form since his move from Benfica. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have deputised adequately, but a commanding centre-back is believes to be on the Manchester United shortlist.
Akanji was open to a move to Old Trafford last year too, admitting: “I want to stay healthy, go with Switzerland to the World Cup, and someday play for Manchester United.” But Borussia Dortmund look to have won the race for his signature. The Bundesliga giants will reportedly sign the defender for £17.7m this month.
BVB have a real need for strength at the back, as they currently sit 16 points off top, having conceded 24 goals in 17 games in the top flight this season. The Express say they’ve also beaten off interest from Liverpool and Southampton to land his signature.