Brazil international Alex Sandro is pushing Juventus to be allowed to leave the Serie A club in the January transfer window.
Principal among the left-back’s suitors are Manchester United , who regard the 26-year-old as the best option to strengthen a problem position in Jose Mourinho ‘s squad.
United’s pursuit of a player coveted by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and courted by Manchester City last summer, forms part of a drive to strengthen the English Premier League club’s squad for the second half of a pivotal season. Mourinho, who is understood to have been given the green light to invest “in the region of €90million” in his squad next month, believes Alex Sandro can improve United both defensively and in attack.
According to sources familiar with the proposed transaction, the Brazilian has made his desire to move to England clear to Juventus. The Italian champions have told coach Massimiliano Allegri that the player will not be sold mid-season unless the club is the recipient of what is described as “a really crazy offer”.
Juve recruited Alex Sandro from FC Porto in August 2015 for a transfer fee of €26m. With both Chelsea and City pursuing the player they were prepared to take a substantial profit in the summer window, floating a price of €70m – a global record for a defender.
While Chelsea were happy for it to be publicly known that they were bidding for the full back as Conte pressured them for full support in the transfer market, the London club failed to agree terms with Juve on a deal.
Mourinho has deployed a series of players inherited from predecessor Louis van Gaal on the left side of his defence with the 32-year-old Ashley Young currently holding down the position. Young, a converted winger, is out of contract at the end of the season, although United have an option to extend for a further year.
The demands on United’s left-sided defenders have increased this season with Mourinho switching between a conventional back four and a back three supplemented with wing backs.
Alex Sandro, who managed the not-inconsiderable feat of displacing former Old Trafford captain Patrice Evra from Juve’s starting XI en route to last season’s Champions League Final, is accustomed to operating in both systems, and can also play left wing.
To create room in their squad and wage bill for new recruits, United will consider winter offers for Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian. Signed with great fanfare in successive summer windows under Van Gaal, the two full backs have played just 195 minutes of Premier League football between them this season.
Out of contract in June, Shaw has been offered to other English clubs by representatives in an effort to resurrect his club and international career.