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Manchester United 'identify Gianluca Mancini as potential Raphael Varane replacement'

Man United 'identify Mancini as potential Varane replacement'
© Reuters
Manchester United could move for Roma centre-back Gianluca Mancini next year, according to a report.

Roma centre-back Gianluca Mancini has reportedly emerged as a transfer target for Manchester United, with the club expected to move for at least one defender in 2024.

Red Devils head coach Erik ten Hag is well-stocked in the middle of the defence, with Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans all at the club.

Martinez is expected back in the latter stages of the year, following a second foot operation in relatively quick succession, but Varane is being heavily linked with an exit.

A number of Saudi Arabian clubs are said to be keen on Varane, with the 30-year-old recently being overlooked for starts despite Martinez being unavailable for selection.

There are also doubts over the futures of Lindelof and Evans, with both players out of contract next June, although the club are likely to activate a 12-month extension in the former's deal.

Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez in action on August 14, 2023© Reuters

Maguire was widely expected to leave Old Trafford over the summer, but the 30-year-old has worked his way back into the side in recent months and now seems set to stay at the club.

Man United continue to be linked with the likes of Benfica's Antonio Silva and Sporting Lisbon's Goncalo Inacio, while Nice's Jean-Clair Todibo is also said to be a target.

According to Il Romanista, a new name has been added to the shortlist, with Mancini viewed by the 20-time English champions as a genuine target.

The report claims that an offer of around €20m (£17.5m) could be enough to convince Roma to sell their vice-captain despite his importance to the side.

Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti and Gianluca Mancini pictured during training on September 4, 2023© Reuters

The 27-year-old came through the youth system at Fiorentina before starting his professional career with Perugia, and he then moved to Atalanta BC in 2017.

Mancini joined Roma in 2019, initially on loan, and he has represented the club on 195 occasions in all competitions, scoring nine goals and registering eight assists.

This season, the Italy international has scored once in 16 appearances, and he has captained the team for the majority of the campaign to date.

Mancini, who has been capped on 11 occasions by Italy, signed a new contract with Roma in July 2022, with his current terms running until June 2027.

The defender was an unused substitute in his national side's 5-2 win over North Macedonia in their Euro 2024 qualification fixture on Friday night.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag pictured before the match on November 4, 2023
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