Friday 23 February 2018

Chelsea and Manchester United battle to sign Joao Miranda

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid defender Joao Miranda battle for the ball
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid defender Joao Miranda battle for the ball

Matt Law

Chelsea and Manchester United are battling to sign Atletico Madrid central defender Joao Miranda.

Brazil international Miranda’s contract expires next summer and Atletico are concerned they will be forced to sell the 30-year-old.

Atletico have offered Toby Alderweireld to Chelsea in an attempt to divert their attention, but manager Jose Mourinho has made it clear he would prefer to sign Miranda.

Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane has long been Mourinho’s top defensive target, but the arrival of Rafael Benitez at the Bernabeu could prevent a deal this summer.

Miranda is seen as the perfect alternative and his contract situation means the player would be relatively inexpensive, in comparison to the rest of the world’s top defenders.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Mourinho would be prepared to guarantee Miranda a regular starting place in his team after seeing captain John Terry and Gary Cahill enjoy superb seasons.

Cahill would be the most likely man to see his place go to Miranda, although it seems unlikely 34-year-old Terry would be able to play every minute of every Premier League game again next season.

United could probably offer Miranda a certain starting place next to either Chris Smalling or Phil Jones in their defence.

Miranda thought he was joining United 12 months ago and even reportedly said his goodbyes to Atletico team-mates after the Champions League defeat to Real.

Atletico’s £22million asking price eventually scuppered the deal, but the Spanish club will almost certainly have to accept a lower fee this time around.

Miranda has already met with Atletico officials over his future and the former Sao Paulo man has once again told friends and team-mates that he could leave the club.

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