5 central defenders Manchester United must target this summer
Jose Mourinho's second season, the script writes itself. The Portuguese tactician has won the league title in his second season with clubs like Porto, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Chelsea, and there was a reason for Manchester United fans to get excited in August.
And an excellent start to the campaign had many dreaming about the same, but things didn't quite turn out to be so straightforward.
Despite a serious improvement from last season, United have fallen short as compared to their neighbours Manchester City, who are close to clinching the league title this season. One of the reasons why United have come out second best is because of some really chaotic defending.
Their best defender Eric Bailly was sidelined for four months, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones constantly find themselves on the treatment table and new signing Victor Lindelof has struggled to find his feet in England. Chris Smalling has been the only central defender not to be plagued by injuries but he has been inconsistent with his performances.
All this points to the fact that Mourinho will have to sign a quality centre-back in the summer, which is of utmost necessity if United need to be in contention for Europe's top prizes next term.
So, in no particular order, we look at the top 5 centre-backs Jose Mourinho should target in the upcoming summer transfer window:
#5 Stefan de Vrij (Lazio)
Stefan de Vrij is enjoying an excellent season with Lazio. The 26-year-old defender is a Feyenoord product and has been playing at the highest level since 2009. He is also a key player for the Dutch national team and has 31 caps for the country, and was part of the team that finished third in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Lazio find themselves fourth in the Serie A and de Vrij has been a central figure in their defence throughout the season. He is composed and is an excellent reader of the game. He is also a threat on the other side of the pitch, and has chipped in with 5 goals this season.
Incidentally, de Vrij is out of contract this summer and looks all set for a transfer. He has been linked with United in the past but rivals Liverpool and Arsenal are also reportedly in close pursuit of the defender.
Video: de Vrij in action this season