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Manchester United 'to prioritise new centre-back in January'

Man United 'to prioritise new centre-back in January'
© Reuters
Manchester United are reportedly set to prioritise signing a new centre-back when the January transfer window opens.

Manchester United have reportedly identified central defence as a key position in need of strengthening in the January transfer window.

The Red Devils made a number of signings in the summer, including Andre Onana, Altay Bayindir, Sergio Reguilon, Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat and Rasmus Hojlund.

After focusing on other positions, Man United only made one new addition in central defence, re-signing experienced campaigner Jonny Evans on a free transfer.

Although they prioritised other areas of the pitch in the summer, The Mirror are reporting that a new centre-back features high on Man United's wishlist for the January window.

The report indicates that United are set to focus on the backline after being heavily affected by central-defensive injuries in the first three months of the season.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag on November 1, 2023© Reuters

Argentina international Lisandro Martinez, who featured regularly last season, has been out of action since September 20 due to injury.

Erik ten Hag has also utilised Luke Shaw as a centre-back at times during the 2022-23 campaign, but the Man United boss has had to make do without the Englishman for the majority of the current season.

In recent weeks, Ten Hag has preferred to utilise Harry Maguire and Evans in the heart of the Man United backline.

However, he has now lost Evans to injury after the 35-year-old sustained a thigh strain in the recent Champions League defeat to Copenhagen.

Fulham's Rodrigo Muniz in action with Manchester United's Jonny Evans on November 4, 2023© Reuters

As a result, Ten Hag has been left with just three senior centre-backs in Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane, highlighting a need for further strength in depth.

Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo has emerged as a possible target, although there is a belief that they may hold off pursuing a deal for the 23-year-old until next summer.

There has also been a suggestion Man United are willing to activate the €60m (£52.3m) release clause in Goncalo Inacio's Sporting Lisbon contract.

The Red Devils have also been linked with Bayer Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah, who is also believed to be attracting interest from Newcastle United and West Ham United.

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4Aston Villa27174659372255
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs26155655391650
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd27142113739-244
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham2712694347-442
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle271241157451240
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18Luton TownLuton2655163754-1720
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