Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is set to launch a bid for Real Madrid defender Pepe, according to reports. With Eric Bailly set to leave for the AFCON next month, Mourinho is reportedly adamant about seeking reinforcements in January and Pepe has emerged as their primary target.
Pepe has only six months remaining on his Real Madrid contract and the European champions are apparently reluctant to give him the two-year deal he wants. Sources close to the player told Spanish newspaper AS, “What he could earn in two years [if he left], they couldn’t pay him here in four. Some of [the offers] are hard to turn down.”
The Portuguese defender has worked with Mourinho at Real between 2010 and 2013, where the duo managed to win a La Liga title. The 33-year-old has enjoyed a wonderful 2015-16 season, which culminated in a fantastic outing at UEFA Euro 2016, where he lifted the trophy with his national side.
Real are expected to continue their negotiations to keep Pepe at the Bernabeu by offering him a one-year extension, but the defender is demanding nothing short of a two-year contract. However, his age could be a hindrance as they already have a star youngster in Raphael Varane, who is ready to become a regular starter alongside Sergio Ramos for the Los Blancos.
While Pepe’s prone to the odd mistake and can lose his composure at times, he’s been a key player for Real and could be an important player for Jose Mourinho’s side. The defender is almost at the fag end of his career but can add experience to the young United backline.
United are determined to strengthen their defensive department after mediocre performances from Chris Smalling and Daley Blind at the start of the season.
Pepe has had a fruitful spell with Real since joining them in 2007 and is approaching almost a decade with the European champions. The Portuguese centre-back’s deal expires on June 30, 2017 which means that he is free to sign for another club in January. Apart from interest from Manchester United, he has also received huge offers from China.