Manchester United are reportedly "considering" making a £15 million bid for Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos as they seek to find cover for their defensive injuries.
That's according to Duncan Wright of the Sun, who cites "reports in France" and notes that with Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones all out, the Red Devils can ill-afford any further absences at the back.
Further, Marquinhos has been unable to cement a regular position in Les Parisiens' side, starting just eight Ligue 1 games this season and featuring for just 772 minutes across his 14 total appearances.
His inability to start week in, week out is somewhat inexplicable. French football journalists Jonathan Johnson and Matt Spiro both felt he was an exceptional player for PSG last season:
Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip
Marquinhos back on pitch. How Blanc ever thought he could name a PSG starting XI without him is beyond me. Indispensable. #OLPSG2/8/2015, 9:36:43 PM
Matt Spiro @mattspiro
Pleased to see Marquinhos get chance in true position. He's been #PSG's best defender this yr. Interesting to see how he does against Costa2/17/2015, 6:59:29 PM
Per Colin Harvey of the Daily Star, the youngster isn't happy with his current situation: "Like everyone else, I always want to be a part of the starting line-up. But we all must respect the choices of the coach and management."
The 21-year-old has a 59 per cent tackle success rate and has also won 58 per cent of his aerial duels in Ligue 1 this season, per Squawka. Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian also possesses outstanding distribution and showed as much last season, per WhoScored.com:
Marquinhos: Of players with more than 20 Ligue 1 apps last season, only Motta (92.9%) had a better pass accuracy than @marquinhos_m5 (92.3%)9/1/2015, 3:57:01 PM
That would likely appeal to United boss Louis van Gaal, who likes his teams to control possession of the ball.
United have boasted the second-best defence in the Premier League this term with 21 goals conceded in 23 matches, but a long-term centre-back partner to slot in alongside Chris Smalling would be highly useful, as Jones has proven unreliable due to injuries.
Marquinhos has the attributes to become a top defender in European football in the future and would make an excellent capture. Per football journalist Andrew Gibney, it seems he's willing to wait until the summer before making a move, though:
Andrew Gibney @Gibney_A
#Marquinhos "There are six months to win titles and try and start - then we will see what happens." #PSG1/3/2016, 11:07:22 AM
If he does pursue a transfer then, United may well land him, but it could easily take far more than the reported £15 million.
At the other end of the pitch, they could be set to pursue CSKA Moscow's Ahmed Musa.
Mark Ashenden of Sky Sports reports that high-flying Leicester City are anticipating stiff competition for his signature, and Simon Bajkowski, James Dixon and Rob Pollard of the Manchester Evening News name United as among those "set to rival" the Foxes.
The Red Devils faced the forward twice this season when they met the Russian side in the Champions League group stage. Though he was unable to score on either occasion, he certainly caught the attention of football writer Liam Canning thanks to his electric pace:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
Holy God, that Musa’s got pace to burn.10/21/2015, 7:09:55 PM
Indeed, the BBC's John Bennett noted Musa has combined his pace with a killer finish to form a potent combination:
John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC
I would urge Manchester United to beware of Ahmed Musa tonight. Lighting pace & this season he's added an end product. #MUFC #CSKA #UCL10/21/2015, 5:48:04 PM
The 23-year-old has scored 10 goals and assisted three times this season in all competitions and has been utilised both as a centre-forward and wide on the left, though he has endured an 11-game goal drought since Bennett's endorsement of his abilities.
The Nigeria captain is a talented young player, though, and the pace and dynamism he could bring to Old Trafford are something United desperately need.
Ashenden's report notes that Leicester may well be put off by his £18 million price tag, but such a cost isn't likely to deter the Red Devils.
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