Manchester United and Chelsea are ready to battle it out to sign Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos in the summer after both Premier League clubs expressed an interest in signing the Brazil international, with the bidding set to begin at £40m.
According to The Telegraph, both English clubs will attempt to sign the PSG defender in a bid to improve their defensive options after struggling this season, although the understanding is that the Ligue 1 champions are incredibly reluctant to sell the 21-year-old – who turns 22 next month.
It’s added though that PSG are aware the centre-back may be unsettled given he has had to play second fiddle to the partnership of his compatriots Thiago Silva and David Luiz, with the majority of his appearances this season coming at right-back.
Should Marquinhos decide he wants a move and United and Chelsea follow up their interest in the Brazilian with official bids, it’s believed PSG would prefer a swap deal in order to bring a replacement into the Parc des Princes. Chelsea midfielder Oscar and striker Diego Costa are options that PSG have expressed an interest in recently, while Eden Hazard remains a long-term target for the Parisians despite the Belgium midfielder being linked with a move to Real Madrid.
But it’s expected that the opening offers will be a cash-only deal in the region of €50m [£40m], and with John Terry set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season when his contract expires, Chelsea are set to ramp up their pursuit of Marquinhos from the interest they showed in him last summer.
After failing to make progress with Everton in their attempt to sign John Stones – which saw four bids turned down with the most being £38m – Chelsea launched a late effort to sign Marquinhos, only for PSG to block any transfer by rejecting their offer.
For United, their defence is an area of major concern given they do not have much strength in depth of experience beyond their first-choice back four, with Phil Jones struggling with injury regularly and Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett out of Louis van Gaal’s first-team plans at present.
Both clubs could face competition from Barcelona, with the Spanish league leaders looking to add to their defence and showing an interest in the former most expensive teenager in world football when he cost PSG £25m to sign from Roma – a deal that was broken twice by United in signing Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial.
One glimmer of hope for those teams interested in Marquinhos though is that a summer of upheaval is expected at PSG following their Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Manchester City, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of contract in the summer along with Thiago Motta and Maxwell.
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