Manchester United chasing defender who broke Kieran Gibbs' metatarsal

Manchester United are said to be in for a young defender who Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs will remember well.

Manchester United have been linked with several defenders over the past few months, and the prominent name has been Benfica's Ezequiel Garay, with talk of the club wanting around £20 million for the former Real Madrid man.

A far cheaper option, valued at around £5 million is a defender playing at another Portuguese side, Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala.

The Portuguese Morning Post, Correio de Manha claimed earlier this week that the Red Devils had scouts in attendance for their 4-0 win over Guimares at the weekend, and he certainly impressed - scoring the opening goal.

Mangala is a French under-21 international and is currently 21-years-old, but has never played in France. He grew up in Belgium and began his career with Standard Liege signing for Porto for £500,000 in 2011.

He began his career as a striker, before being converted to left-back, then centre-back, where he has excelled ever since. He can also say he has scored against Arsenal, when he was still at Liege, but the Gunners won the Champions League match 3-2.

It was that match back in 2009 where Mangala tackled Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs, and broke his metatarsal in the process.

Speaking this month, Gibbs says it took him almost a year to recover from the challenge, but has had various injuries and setbacks since.

Speaking to Arsenal's official magazine, he said: "It took me eight or nine months to get over that injury, which turned out to be really serious in the end. I remember the doctor ringing me. He said he had bad news, and I thought he was going to tell me I wouldn’t be able to play again."

Mangala has certainly moved on, at Porto he is excelling, making 25 appearances already this season. Porto would likely try and get as much money out of United as possible, he may end up costing close to £10 million.

But with Rio Ferdinand approaching retirement, that may be a small price to pay for a tough tackling future France international.

Watch the committed Mangala colliding head on with his own teammate here. Ouch!

image: © korobukkuru

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