That’s according to Calciomercato (h/t Will Giles of Metro), who suggest the Red Devils have taken a keen interest in the defender, who has excelled for the Italian champions since his summer move from FC Porto. It’s noted that if United wanted to land the 25-year-old, it’d likely cost them around £40 million.
It’s a staggering amount, but as we can see here, Sandro has matured into an exceptional player since making the switch to Turin:
Indeed, Sandro, while raw and a little erratic during his time in Portugal, is starting to look as though he’s the complete full-back.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri has tasked him with taking over for veteran Patrice Evra as the starting left-back at the club and kept faith with Sandro after a slow start. It’s a trust that has been rewarded, with the Brazilian’s energetic presence on the left flank, both going forward and getting back, central to their fine recent form.
As the Selecao Brasileira Twitter feed noted recently, Sandro can be a key creative outlet for both Juve and the national side:
Alex Sandro created 7 chances for Juventus against Frosinone, at least 4 more than any other player in the game. pic.twitter.com/eHNX9a12BA— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) February 7, 2016
Still, while he’s an outstanding and improving footballer, it’s not a player United should pursue. Not only did the Bianconeri only acquire the defender last summer, but Juventus are a team regularly challenging for the top honours, both domestically and on the continent; currently, they’re in a much better state than the Red Devils.
Additionally, United already have exciting options in this facet of their squad. Luke Shaw may be injured but is surely a player who the club view as being the long-term incumbent of the position, while Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has come into the side recently and impressed. Therefore, a £40 million outlay on a left-back would be an indulgence.
Manchester City Linked with Aymeric Laporte
In the piece, it’s suggested City’s new manager Pep Guardiola views the Athletic Club defender as an ideal option to slot in at the base of the side. Giles says the report claims a “deal taking Laporte to City has been agreed in principle, although the fee is yet to be sorted.”
Earlier this month it was reported by Sport (h/t George Bellshaw of Metro) that United and Barca were to battle it out for the talented centre-back. Here’s a reminder of why he’s allegedly attracting interest from some of European football’s elite sides:
If Guardiola was keen on signing Laporte then it wouldn’t be a great surprise. After all, the coach is renowned for wanting players on his side who are not only comfortable in possession but intelligent off the ball and quick to cut out danger, with the entire XI seeking to prevent the opposition from settling by pressing up the pitch.
As these statistics from WhoScored.com illustrate emphatically, Laporte is a player who ticks those boxes:
Aymeric Laporte: Only Diego Godín (259) has made more interceptions in the last 3 La Liga seasons than @Laporte (250)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 10, 2016
He’s also a very fine defender. The Premier League can often be too physical for players coming in from overseas, especially centre-backs, but it’s a part of the game Laporte relishes. When you add his aerial strength, astute tackling and capable distribution into the mix, we’re looking at one of the brightest prospects around.
Sadly for United, should a three-horse race materialise for the player between the aforementioned sides, they’re likely to be at the back of the pack. Both Barcelona and City are hugely attractive propositions at this juncture, and while the Red Devils could put together a lucrative financial package, if Laporte is to leave the Basque club, it’ll surely be to play at the highest level possible.