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Reports: Manchester United eye Croatian defender

Ashwin Asok
ANALYST
Rumors
1.45K   //    17 May 2018, 12:42 IST

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-WATFORD
Will he get the defender?

What's the rumour?

According to reports from The Daily Mail, Manchester United are plotting a move for Atletico Madrid's Sime Vrsaljko. The right-back is reportedly valued at £30million.

In case you didn't know...

A Croatian international, Vrsaljko has won 34 caps for his country to date. He made the switch to Atletico Madrid from Serie A side Sassuolo in 2016 and has made 54 appearances for the club across all competitions.

The 26-year-old has been impressive this season and has been an able deputy to Juanfran. He has made 29 appearances this season and started in their UEFA Europa League final triumph against Marseille last night.

His existing contract with the club runs until the summer of 2022.

The heart of the matter

Mourinho wants to strengthen United's right-back area this summer as Antonio Valencia is nearing his mid-30s and may not be able to manage the physical demands of two or three matches in quick succession.

West Ham United v Manchester United - Premier League
Valencia, pictured here during United's 0-0 draw with West Ham, made 38 appearances across all competitions this term

Matteo Darmian, unhappy about the lack of first-team opportunities granted, is expected to depart the club this summer and their only other option is promising youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who spent 2017/18 out on-loan at Crystal Palace.

As a result, Mourinho may be looking at signing a more experienced and reliable player to improve his defensive options. Thus, the club have reportedly identified Atletico's Vrsaljko as a possible option and are interested in pursuing the Croatian this summer.

As per the report, Atletico may be willing to sell the player if their demands are met as they will want to strengthen other positions themselves in the coming months.

Rumour rating/probability - 5/10

Not many sources have reported the news and at present, we do not have any credible evidence to suggest a move is happening - not least as Vrsaljko himself appears happy at Atletico and continues to develop under Diego Simeone's guidance.

Video: Vrsaljko in action for Atletico Madrid this season

Author's take

Manchester United will have to replace Valencia in a couple of years and Vrsaljko appears to be a decent option for them to pursue. Atletico may look to price them out of a possible deal but given the Red Devils' financial muscle, they have the resources to make this move happen - provided they are prepared to potentially pay over the odds for his services.

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Ashwin Asok
ANALYST
|| Football Aficionado || Manchester United embodiment ||
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