Manchester United attempted to beat Manchester City to the signing of Eliaquim Mangala, but the Frenchman chose the Blues. That is the claim from Goal, with the FC Porto defender tipped to finalise a €48million move to the Etihad Stadium in the coming days.
Mangala has been linked with both clubs for some time, and despite United being in desperate need of quality new centre-backs to replace the departed Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, it is being reported that Mangala snubbed them in favour of their fierce rivals.
The Goal report claims Louis van Gaal’s side were willing to match the transfer fee City are said to have agreed, as well as offering improved personal terms. But despite the alleged interest Mangala is said to have opted for City.
If true, it is somewhat surprising that United waited so late to make their move. After all, Mangala has been impressing with his performances for some time and City’s interest was no secret following talk of a January move that failed to materialise.
But if United really did make a late bid to take Mangala from under the noses of City, more fool them for not trying sooner. And either way, if the French international does swap Porto for City as is now widely believed, who will United ultimately sign?
After all, defenders of Mangala’s quality are not readily available and the likes of Mats Hummels will not come cheap…if at all.
The Borussia Dortmund man is arguably the ideal option for United, but Jurgen Klopp will not want to part with him regardless of the offer. Atletico Madrid defender Miranda, on the other hand, could leave if his release-clause was met, but those links have gone quiet in recent weeks.
Then there is Stefan de Vrij, who would be ideal but who, it has been suggested, favours a move to Lazio.
Whatever happens between now and the start of the new campaign, van Gaal will need to bring in at least one – if not two – new central defenders.
Thomas Vermaelen could be one of them if Arsenal agree to do business, but United need a player like Mangala. Unfortunately for them, the real thing appears to be on his way to their closest rivals.