Tuesday 24 October 2017

Jose Mourinho wants Seamus Coleman to solve Manchester United's right back problem

Seamus Coleman is wanted by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho
Seamus Coleman is wanted by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho
Seamus Coleman celebrates after scoring for Ireland against Georgia

Miguel Delaney

Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing Everton’s Seamus Coleman to Manchester United in the January window, as he seeks to solve the club’s problem right-back area.

United have a long-standing interest in the Irish captain, having looked to sign him in 2013 when former Goodison Park boss David Moyes was appointed manager.

Mourinho revived that interest in the summer, and considered Coleman a target to be pursued, but felt other areas of the side — particularly central midfield and centre half — needed to be prioritised first.

Given that United spent £150m in that window, including breaking the world transfer record for Paul Pogba, Mourinho decided to persist with the full-backs currently available — at least until the next window.

Antonio Valencia has since then been stand-in right-back, but that hasn’t proved completely satisfactory, and the Portuguese is not believed to rate Matteo Darmian that highly.

The Italian has barely played and is likely to be sold in January.

What Jose Mourinho is actually trying to do with Manchester United isn’t all that clear yet. Picture: PA

Mourinho wants to use that to add a right-back who is first and foremost a solid defender, but also has pace on the counter, and Coleman fits that profile.

It is understood, however, that the Everton player — who turned 28 on Tuesday and scored his first international goal in Ireland’s 1-0 win over Georgia — is second choice behind Monaco’s Fabinho. The 22-year-old Brazilian was United’s primary right-back target in the summer, but would likely cost more than Coleman and prove a more complicated deal.

For their part, Everton would strongly resist any move for Coleman and feel they could now offer him a lucrative contract if United do make their interest concrete. His current deal runs until June 2019. United would likely have to pay over £25m.

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he was proud of his team despite  a frustrating 1-1 draw with Everton.

Guardiola explained: “We did everything and I am so proud of that team. We played amazing. We created chances, had two penalties. They had one chance. In football it is like this. Big compliment to Everton about the way they defend and their performance.

“I am sad for the players because they deserve to win the game. We have to keep our heads up because from the beginning of the season we have done so well. Football is football. This happens sometimes.”

Everton boss Ronald Koeman was more upbeat: “I am satisfied with a point because not many teams leave this stadium with a point. You need to be a little bit lucky and a goalkeeper to have the match of his life, and you need a workrate.

“A big compliment to the team because we fight. They were the better team, had the chances, missed two penalties but it’s final score 1-1.”

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