Manchester United set to battle City and Chelsea for prodigious defender

The Premier League champions are reportedly weighing up a January bid for talented Porto centre-half Eliaquim Mangala.

Reports in the British press today are suggesting that Manchester United are ready to make a move for in-demand Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala.

The France international has proved himself to be on of Europe’s brightest defensive prospects in his time at Portugal after a move from Standard Liege in 2011.

The 22-year-old has all the physical attributes to become a top defender and is also renowned for his ability in the air. He played a significant role in Porto’s title success last term and is being monitored by some of Europe’s top clubs.

Chelsea were heavily linked with a move for Mangala over the summer but this failed to materialise, while Manchester City are also believed to be keeping tabs on the situation. Big-spending French duo Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are also keen on bringing the defender back to his homeland.

Mangala has a €45m (£37.8m) buyout clause in his contract, and Porto have a reputation for playing hardball in the transfer market. The Portuguese champions will look to demand that the clause be met should Mangala leave the Estadio do Dragao.

United’s priority in the January transfer window will surely be the resumption of their quest to land a creative midfielder, with rumblings that the Old Trafford club are ready to try to sign Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera once more.

Despite this, David Moyes is weighing up his options at centre-half, especially given that Rio Ferdinand will turn 35 in November. The veteran defender is thought to be playing his final season at the club, although United will assess the situation at the end of the season.

With Nemanja Vidic 32 next month and also struggling with injuries over the last 24 months, the process of replacing the experienced duo has already started. United have Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the their squad to step up to the plate, but it is felt that an extra youthful centre-half would boost competition for places.

Mangala has been making waves at Porto and it is clear that he will more than likely be on the move to a bigger club over the course of the next 12 months. He has recently parted company with his agent, and once he determines a replacement negotiations over a transfer may well be a priority come January.

The France international has all the attributes to become a success in England and with United, but Moyes faces a transfer battle to land the promising centre-half.

image: © Paolo Camera

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