Manchester United could have signed £40m defender target for £9.5m 8 months ago

Nicolas Otamendi has emerged as a big money target for Manchester United, but they could have got him on the cheap in January.

Last weekend it became clear that Manchester United did not address their defensive issues over the summer. United thrashed Leicester City for much of their game last weekend but were so poor at the back that Leicester just walked through and put the goal in the back of the net five times.

This weekend injury and suspension sees them thin at the back. This summer they let Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leave the club and clearly need new defensive reinforcements.

Now they are being reported to have a vested interest in the services of Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi - again.

The Argentine international is reportedly available for £40 million in January with Manchester United believed to be keen once again.

But they could have snapped him up in January, for just £9.5 million.

Otamendi only signed for Valencia from FC Porto in February of this year, albeit outside of the transfer window and therefore he could not play for the club until this season.

He was instead loaned out by the Portuguese side to Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro, where he played 19 games in all competitions.

But when Valencia announced the deal they also announced that Manchester United had in fact pulled out of a deal to sign him in the winter. Their club statement from sporting director Francisco Rufete stated:

"If I try to buy Otamendi after the World Cup, it's possible he couldn't come. A great sacrifice and a lot work was necessary for him to come. He will explain that when he arrives. We saw that Manchester United pulled out and we moved in."

Now, just eight months down the line, Manchester United are being linked with a move for the player for £30.5 million more than they could have got him earlier in the year. Which would once again reek of bad business from Ed Woodward despite his excellent dealings in the transfer market this summer.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch