New Man Utd Target: Mourinho Expected to Make a Move for £6.95m Defender
Manchester United will go head-to-head with RB Leipzig for Red Bull Salzburg star Dayot Upamecano.
According to The Sun’s Emanuele Giulianelli and Tom Sheen, the two sides will battle it out for the £6.95 million centre-back.
United boss Jose Mourinho is likely to put in an offer for the 18-year-old, but with Salzburg and Leipzig both owned by Red Bull, the German side are “are expected to have first refusal on the defender.”
The unlikely Bundesliga title challengers have benefited greatly from the shared ownership having signed nine players from their Austrian counterparts in the last three years, most notably midfield star Naby Keita last summer.
Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick told German outlet Kicker that no deal had been reached between the two sides yet, per Giulianelli and Sheen: “There are no new facts. We can only announce it once there have either been handshakes or contracts have been signed—but that’s not the case.”
The Frenchman has also attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona, according to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (h/t Grup 14’s Navid Molaaghaei):
Here’s a look at what he can do:
MD say RB Salzburg's Upamecano is amongst Barça's future options. Good. Best U20 CB in Europe with Jesus Vallejo. pic.twitter.com/TJzbtR9Cno
— Navid Molaaghaei (@navidjaaan) December 30, 2016
As the video demonstrates, Upamecano is a composed, ball-playing defender who can effectively drive his team forward with powerful runs upfield—a skill he puts into practice while featuring as a holding midfielder, which he also regularly does for Salzburg.
The teenager has featured four times for the Austrian side in the UEFA Europa League this season and impressed while doing so. Here are the numbers behind his all-action performances, courtesy of Squawka:
If Upamecano can continue to develop towards achieving his obvious potential, a move to an elite side such as United or Barcelona may be on the cards in the future.
In the meantime, it may be difficult for anyone other than Leipzig to land his signature, as Red Bull focus on achieving success with them in Germany.