Manchester United are targeting Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin in a bid to strengthen their shaky and injury-hit defence with a January move for the centre-back believed to be in the pipeline.
United’s defence has proven fragile this season since Louis van Gaal replaced David Moyes as manager, with the club suffering no fewer than 40 injuries this season – predominantly in defence. The likes of Luke Shaw, Marcus Rojo and Jonny Evans have been severely hampered by injuries this season, and the England left-back suffered a latest setback in the victory over Arsenal.
With Phil Jones also absent and both Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair hugely inexperienced, Van Gaal is likely to move to strengthen the defence in January and continue United’s unprecedented spending spree this season.
Manchester United injury list
Manchester United injury list
1/5 Wayne Rooney
There is uncertainty over the extent of the Manchester United captain's injury, with fears he may have suffered ligament damage to his knee during the 3-0 defeat to Everton. Unlikely to feature against West Brom and could miss the rest of the season.
2/5 Michael Carrick
Having limped off in the 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City, it's uncertain if the England midfielder will fit for this weekend. Was unable to even make the bench for the defeat to Everton.
The right-back's return to action has suffered a set-back. After making a short appearance in the 3-0 win over Tottenham in March, the Brazilian has been pushing for full fitness. However he suffered a blow to the ribs in an Under-21 match against Leicester and could miss the rest of the season.
4/5 Marcos Rojo
Having missed the games against Chelsea and Everton due to a groin injury, the Argentina international is pushing for a return and could feature this weekend.
5/5 Phil Jones
Fellow defender Phil Jones also missed the defeats to Chelsea and Evertton but the England international has returned to training after a foot complaint and could play at against West Brom.
That could lead the Dutchman to the Atletico defender, who impressed last season during the club’s triumphant La Liga campaign as well as the run to the Champions League final, where Godin scored the goal that secured the title in the final league game against Barcelona as well as Atletico’s loe goal in the 4-1 defeat to rivals Real Madrid in the European showcase match.
United have been linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, although the World Cup winner has also attracted interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona, while they are also believed to have scouted Basle’s Fabian Shar and Dynamo Kiev’s Aleksandar Dragovic, according to the Daily Mail.
The club, who are looking to rebound from last season’s dismal 7th-place finish, could move into the top three with a victory over Stoke tonight, but despite an up-turn in form of late they look set to continue their lavish spending this campaign.
The additions of Angel di Maria, Shaw, Rojo, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and loan-signing Radamel Falcao helped surpass the £150m barrier, and a move for Godin could see that figure rise dramatically. United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is reported to be ready to be negotiate a fee for the 28-year-old Uruguayan, although they could be forced to meet his £28m release clause if they want to speak to him.
There was a boost for Van Gaal ahead of the festive period – which he has already admitted he is not a fan of – in that Evans returned to action on Monday night has he played in the Under 21 match between United and Southampton. Evans has not played since September due to an ankle injury he suffered in the shock 5-3 defeat to Leicester, but his return would give Van Gaal more options at the back with Chris Smalling, Rojo and Michael Carrick currently filling the back-three in Van Gaal’s favourite 3-5-2 formation.
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