If Manchester United are going to challenge for the title next season, Jose Mourinho knows two major summer signings were never going to be enough to sufficiently improve his squad.
Despite winning the League Cup and Europa League last term, the Red Devils stumbled to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League and the club’s fans will be expecting Mourinho’s men to be much closer to their rivals next time around.
So far this summer, Mourinho has secured the services of Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku for hefty fees, however, the spending is far from over.
Central midfield remains another position their Portuguese boss is eager to strengthen and they have been linked with a host of potential targets throughout the off-season.
However, it would appear United are beginning to narrow down their shortlist of options.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Mourinho has ruled out making a move for either Tiemoue Bakayoko and Fabinho this summer.
There have been recent rumours to suggest Mourinho was about to hijack Chelsea’s bid for Bakayoko and beat them to the punch for the second time in as many weeks but a senior source has since dismissed that speculation.
Fabinho is a name that has been constantly thrown into the Man Utd transfer rumour mix of late and he has even publically spoken of his admiration for the club.
Nevertheless, for one reason or another, a move has failed to manufacture itself and Mourinho is now considering two other alternatives.
The Man United manager’s preference is to bring in someone who already has plenty of experience in the Premier League – hence the reports regarding Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier.
Both would appear to fit the bill at Old Trafford but trying to convince their respective clubs to sell up is an entirely different matter.
Out of the two, at 23, Dier, would certainly represent a better long-term acquisition and match Mourinho’s desire for a relatively youthful spine – particularly with Michael Carrick now 35-years-old.
Carrick has recently been rewarded for extending his contract for another season by being given the captaincy and finding an adequate replacement is proving probably just as difficult as Mourinho expected.