Manchester United

Manchester United Transfer News: Alex Sandro Rumours, Aymeric Laporte Blow

Juventus' defender from Brasil Alex Sandro celebrates after scoring a goal during the Serie A football match between Chievo Verona and Juventus on January 31, 2016 at Bentegodi Stadium in Verona.  / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
GIUSEPPE CACACE/Getty Images
Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2016

Manchester United have reportedly quizzed Juventus numerous times over the availability of their star left-back Alex Sandro.

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:

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.

Shaw looks to have an exciting future at United.
Shaw looks to have an exciting future at United.VI-Images/Getty Images

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

BILBAO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 25: Aymeric Laporte of Bilbao in action during the UEFA Europa League Football round of 32 second leg match between Athletic Bilbao and Olympique de Marseille at San Mames on February 25, 2016 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Romain P
Romain Perrocheau/Getty Images

According to Sport (h/t Giles), Manchester City have agreed to a deal in principle to sign reported Manchester United and Barcelona target 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:

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.

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