Sunday 25 September 2016

Has a reputed target of Jose Mourinho sent out a not so subtle come and get me plea?

Tom Rooney

Published 28/08/2016 | 15:28

Man United are reportedly interested in Fabinho of Monaco
Man United are reportedly interested in Fabinho of Monaco

While Jose Mourinho has declared that Manchester United will not further add to their ranks in the current transfer window, one of his reputed targets appears to have made a last ditch attempt to be brought to Old Trafford.

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Upon taking his new job, Jose Mourinho explained that Manchester United, in the short term, would acquire four players to aid in immediately returning the club to her former glory.

The first three, Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, all arrived with the minimum of fuss, before a protracted period of negotiations and a world record transfer fee ensured the return of Paul Pogba from Juventus.

It wasn’t long, however, before reports began emanating from Manchester that Mourinho was eager to further augment his defensive options.

The two most prominent candidates were Southampton’s Jose Fonte and Fabinho of Monaco.

Yet United made no formal bids for either man and, in actual fact, seem to be more likely to continue to offload defenders.

Paddy McNair and Donald Love were sold to Sunderland, Tyler Blackett to Reading, while Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has been loaned to Wolves.

Furthermore, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have also been heavily linked with moves away from Old Trafford.

That said, 22-year-old Fabinho, who had the briefest of overlaps with Mourinho in the Real Madrid first team, has refused to close the book on departing France for pastures new.

"I'm not certain of staying, but at the same time, there's more of a chance of me staying than leaving," he told L’Equipe.

The Brazilian international cited Monaco’s participation in the Champions League, which he helped them secure in a playoff victory over Villarreal, as his main reason for potentially remaining at the Stade Louis II. 

They have been grouped with Tottenham, CSKA Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen.

That, and the club’s ambitious recruitment during the summer, which included bringing back striker Radamel Falcao from dismal loan spells at United and Chelsea, some of which was during Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge.

The activity in the market was certainly required given their third place in Ligue 1 last term, in tandem with the inability to make it beyond the last 16 in both of the French cups. They also failed to progress from their Europa League group which, funnily enough, featured Tottenham.

"With the Champions League, it's not bad staying at Monaco. We're stronger than last year. We've strengthened in defence with Glik and we're very good at full-back. The returns of Falcao and Germain are important. We just need leaders.”

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