The Manchester United manager is plotting for a complete defensive overhaul with Roma’s highly-rated defender as one of his prime targets

Manchester United have joined the race for Roma’s 23-year-old defender, Antonio Rudiger with English rivals Chelsea already among the admirers for the centre-back.

English publication, Daily Mail reports manager Jose Mourinho is not satisfied with the defensive options available at his disposal and in-order to shore up the back-line, Jose is prepared to perform a mass clear-out and replace them with his preferred line of defenders. The process of identification for the same is said to be already in motion.

One of the names on top of the shortlist for Manchester United is Antonio Rudiger. The player emerged as one of the best defensive prospects last season, attracting attention for his quickness, aggressive tackling abilities and exceptional aerial skills. He has already been capped by Germany on 10 occasions, and was part of their squad for the Euro 2016.

But rather unfortunately, Rudiger sustained a serious knee injury during a training session with the national team, due to which he was sidelined for almost 4 months; missing the Euros as well as start of the season for Roma.

Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte is said to hold Rudiger in high regard, but the injury put a dead-end on the club’s interest for the player in the summer.

Rudiger has quickly become an almost indispensable member of the Roma squad but reports are claiming that the player could be available for 30m. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
Rudiger has quickly become an almost indispensable member of the Roma squad but reports are claiming that the player could be available for 35m. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

The player has now recovered from his injury and played a part in Roma’s 3-1 win at Sassuolo on Thursday, coming on in the 79th min.

The Daily Mail report also suggests, of the defenders available at United, Jose is only in favour of new signing Eric Bailly (ruled out with knee injury till Christmas), with the error-prone Chris Smalling and out of favour Matteo Darmian reportedly the first in the firing line; while futures of Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw remaining uncertain.

It is, of course, unlikely all the players will be offloaded at once, but there seems good possibility the club will look to slowly phase out some of those players and replace them in the upcoming transfer windows. Roma could be forced to accept any offer in and around the £35 million mark for the player considering the financial condition of the club.

Germany manager Joachim Löw has already likened Rudiger to fellow international team-mate Jerome Boateng. No wonder Jose Mourinho has asked his scouts to keep an eye on him.

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