United linked with moves for impressive Serie A defensive duo

United to beat Chelsea to the signing of Juventus star?

As Manchester United prepare to take on Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night, manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that Armenian playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan could make his first appearance for the Red Devils since November 25th. Despite making a hugely impressive start to the current campaign, the former Borussia Dortmund star’s form has dropped considerably in the last couple of months, so much so that Mourinho is reportedly open to the possibility of offloading the midfielder in the January transfer window. Now, according to the Sun, Mkhitaryan could be offered to Italian giants Juventus next month, as United look to sign the Turin outfit’s left-back Alex Sandro in return. The 26-year-old was heavily linked with a move to reigning Premier League champions Chelsea during the summer months, however, the inclusion of Mkhitaryan in any potential deal has seen United steal a march over the Blues.

Should the Brazil international complete the move to Old Trafford, it would most likely signal the end of Luke Shaw’s career at the Theatre of Dreams. Having struggled to cement his place in the United first team and been subject to harsh criticism from Mourinho, the 22-year-old has put in a number of impressive performances in recent weeks that suggested that he could make the left-back spot his own. However, the potential arrival of Sandro would suggest that Shaw looks for a new club next month and with the World Cup just around the corner, the England international would require regular first-team football if he is to earn a place in Gareth Southgate’s side.

Mourinho sets sights on impressive Serie A centre-back

Sandro, however, may not be the only defender arriving at Old Trafford, as United are rumoured to be seriously considering making a move for Lazio centre-back Stefan de Vrij. The 25-year-old has established himself as one of Serie A’s top defenders since making the move to the Italian capital from Dutch side Feyenoord shortly after impressing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Believed to be a target for United’s arch-rivals Liverpool, de Vrij’s current contract is set to run out at the end of the current campaign and whilst Lazio are frantically trying to get the Netherlands international to put pen to paper on a new deal, his potential availability has put Mourinho’s men on high alert. Whether United need to add another centre-back to their ranks is questionable, especially when the likes of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, both just 23 years old, are likely to form a partnership a defensive partnership for years to come.