Reports: Manchester United set to splash £200m on three Serie A superstars
What's the rumour?
Jose Mourinho has been strongly linked with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio for some time now, and talks are still ongoing. But two more players have been added as targets for the Manchester United boss: Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli of AC Milan.
Mourinho is well aware that he needs to strengthen United's defence if they want a chance of competing with Manchester City for the title next season. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling ended the season as the two main centre-backs, with Lindelof being a major disappointment and Eric Bailly dropped to the bench after a supposed fall-out with Jose.
In case you didn't know...
Milinkovic-Savic has turned many heads at Lazio since signing for them in 2015. Since joining the club, he has accumulated 94 appearances, scored 17 goals and assisted 10. He also featured eight times for the side in their recent Europa League campaign, scoring twice. Paris Saint-Germain have shown their interest in the player before now, but Manchester United look to have pipped them to the post.
Leonardo Bonucci joined Milan from Juventus last summer at a cut-price £35m following a fall-out with the board. Manchester United would do well to purchase him for the same price. The same can be said for Alessio Romagnoli, who only recently signed a new contract with Milan. This means that his value will have risen exponentially in the time since then.
The heart of the matter
AC Milan have been in financial turmoil recently following issues with their Financial Fair Play Regulations. As a result of their careless spending, they have been suspended from entering the Europa league for the upcoming season. This is a heavy pill to swallow for the Italian side, as a large chunk of their income is derived from such competitions.
This means that it is now or never for teams looking to purchase an AC Milan player, with some of the squad looking for other options now that their season is restricted solely to the Serie A and local cup tournaments.
United have already been in talks with Leonardo Bonucci since being linked with the Italian skipper in late-June, but nothing has come from the negotiations yet.
However, with Milan owner Yonghong Li needing a €30m cash injection from somewhere, it may well be that he is forced to sell off a player or two to balance the books.
Rumour probability: 6.5/10
Lazio might be forced into selling Sergej Milinkovic-Savic due to their failure to qualify for the Champions League next season. And while the gigantic offers are flooding in, it would make sense for the mid-table Italian side to cash in and begin a widespread squad rebuild with that money.
It's a similar situation for AC Milan and their star defenders; both could be tempted by Champions League football, as well as Premier League games, provided they're paid enough. And with Milan in such financial turmoil, they might need to push through the transfers in order to alleviate their debt.
With Jose Mourinho still unhappy with United's mediocre defence, he looks determined to revamp it before the season begins. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are nowhere near the level of Bonucci and Romagnoli, so to bring in the two Milan centre-backs would be a huge boost to the quality of the squad.
United are a very rich club, so the estimated £80m combined offer (£35m for Bonucci and £45m for Romagnoli) could be well within their budget. If Milan weren't in such financial trouble, which has forced them to offload certain players to make ends meet, then the pair would undoubtedly cost considerably more.
If Ed Woodward can negotiate a cut-price deal for the Italian duo, it would surely lift the spirits of United fans across the globe.