Manchester United eye deal to bring Premier League defender back to Old Trafford - report

According to ESPN, Manchester United are monitoring Stoke City centre back Ryan Shawcross with a view to bringing him back to the club.

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal splashed out £150m on new signings this summer, bringing Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to Old Trafford as he looked to instantly improve on the club's seventh place finished last season.

Whilst his attacking players are clicking, the defence remains a concern. Young players such as Tyler Blackett and Patrick McNair have been forced into action in defence due to injuries to the likes of Jonny Evans and Phil Jones, with van Gaal desperately needing a dominant centre back after the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar has been linked with a move to Old Trafford having starred under van Gaal for the Netherlands at the World Cup, but with Villa reportedly asking for £12m for Vlaar, ESPN believe that it's Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross who United could turn to in January in a bid to improve their defence.

Shawcross, 27, started his career with United back in 2002 but played just twice for the Red Devils, before being sold to Stoke City for £2m in 2008 following a successful loan spell at the Britannia Stadium.

Since then, Shawcross has made around 300 appearances for the Potters in a hugely successive time with the club, even earning his first England call-up back in 2012.

ESPN report that there have been internal negotiations over a possible move for Shawcross, who possesses the height and physicality that United desperately need in defence - but whether Stoke would sell him for less than the £12m quoted for Vlaar remains to be seen.

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