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Manchester United Transfer News: Latest on David Alaba, Serge Aurier Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2016

David Alaba of Bayern Munichduring the UEFA Champions League group D match between PSV Eindhoven and Bayern Munich on November 1, 2016 at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly considering a move for Austrian Bayern Munich full-back David Alaba after scouting the player during the recent round of international fixtures.

The Red Devils are said to have had scouts in attendance for Austria's matches against the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia. That's according to Tom Hopkinson of the Sunday People (h/t Mirror).

Hopkinson noted how United manager Jose Mourinho is looking for fresh options at both left-back and defensive midfield. Alaba is said to be one of his top choices, despite the likelihood of strong competition for the player's signature: "Alaba, 24, is contracted to Bayern until 2021, but that won’t put off Mourinho, who would love to beat his old club Real Madrid to the player’s signature."

Landing Alaba would indeed be a coup for any club. The versatile 24-year-old is one of the best players in the world.

Alaba's a terrific talent.
Alaba's a terrific talent.TF-Images/Getty Images

He's an athletic marvel with the strength, pace and energy to influence matches in every area of the pitch. Alaba's also blessed with the intelligence to thrive in a number of positions.

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He most often used as a left-sided full-back. Yet Alaba can also play at the heart of defence or in a deep-lying role at the base of midfield. The latter position is where former Bayern manager Pep Guardiola often deployed Alaba.

There's little doubt United could use help at both positions. Mourinho has tried a variety of players in the holding role in midfield, but questions persist about many of his options.

The best is undoubtedly Michael Carrick, whose cerebral reading of the game and exquisite passing quality make him a natural as a deep-lying playmaker. However, Carrick is 35, and Mourinho has to have one eye on the future.

United will need to refresh their options at the base of midfield sooner rather than later.
United will need to refresh their options at the base of midfield sooner rather than later.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

It doesn't help that Marouane Fellaini is still too reckless and undisciplined to be trusted in a role demanding lots of tackles. Mourinho also doesn't appear to trust Morgan Schneiderlin.

It's a similar story at left-back, where Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian have both struggled. Alaba would be a major upgrade on both.

Still, it would be no easy task convincing him to leave Munich. Even if United could, Real Madrid wouldn't be the only ones providing competition.

La Liga giants Barcelona are also said to be keen, according to Maite Anton of Spanish publication Sport. He noted how Barca have twice tried to sign Alaba in the past.

                      

United Competing with Manchester City for Serge Aurier

Alaba isn't the only utility player Mourinho is said to be keeping tabs on. United have also reportedly been scouting Paris Saint-Germain right-back Serge Aurier, per Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star Sunday. He noted how both United and local rivals Manchester City scouted Aurier during Ivory Coast's recent 0-0 draw with France.

Hetherington also pointed out how a player he states PSG would sell for £20 million has had his share of disciplinary issues: "Aurier, 23, was suspended by PSG earlier in the year after making comments about Laurent Blanc, who was the club’s coach at the time. And he is currently appealing a two-month prison sentence for elbowing a police officer."

Mourinho may be willing to take a chance, though, given Aurier's flexibility and talent. He can operate as a full-back, centre-back or winger.

Like Alaba, Aurier is blessed with awesome pace, underrated skill on the ball and an impressive engine. No United full-back consistently combines all those things.

This isn't the first time United have been linked with Aurier. In fact, Richard Forrester of the Sun recently stated Mourinho is confident he could seal a deal worth £18 million for the full-back in the January transfer window.

Mourinho is still working to shape United's squad in his own image. He knows he'll need more physical dominance in defensive areas. Signing players who can offer the trait at more than one position would make a lot of sense.

Alaba would be the dream get, but actually sealing a deal for the in-demand Austrian would be a tall order, even for a club of United's stature.

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