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Exclusive: Boost For Man United In £24m Defender Chase As Barcelona Turn Attentions Elsewhere

United favourites to land Atletico centre-back.

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Manchester United may have made significant progress in their efforts to sign Atletico Madrid defender Miranda with the news that Barcelona have cooled their interest in the Brazilian, CaughtOffside understands.

The Red Devils are desperate to sign some established players in defence this summer after losing experienced duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand at the end of the 2013/14 season, and had faced a duel with Barcelona for the signing of in-form defensive rock Miranda.

The 29-year-old was one of the most important players for Diego Simeone’s side last season as they won La Liga and reached the final of the Champions League, forming a superb partnership with Diego Godin in central defence.

Barca are also known to be in the market for one or two big names at centre-back, with Miranda emerging as one of their top targets for the last few months, though they may have switched their focus elsewhere after struggling to persuade Atletico to sell to their rivals.

Paris Saint-Germain youngster Marquinhos is now thought to be the Catalan giants’ top target in that position after establishing himself as one of the best young defenders in Europe, and new manager Luis Enrique is ready to pay big money to bring him to the Nou Camp.

This should open up the potential for United to bid for Miranda, with Louis van Gaal seemingly a big fan of the player, despite also being linked with the likes of Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen and Feyenoord defender Stefan de Vrij.

Miranda’s experience and fine recent form make him the more appealing target, and he could be available for around £24m, which looks like good value for money in today’s market, which has seen David Luiz move from Chelsea to PSG for around £50m.

Still, Luiz’s arrival at the Parc des Princes looks like persuading the French giants to sell Marquinhos, which will in turn now benefit United as they prepare to rebuild for next season.

With the signings of Ander Herrer and Luke Shaw already wrapped up, Miranda would be another fine addition to the squad at Old Trafford, while other big names such as Arturo Vidal and Angel Di Maria also continue to be strongly linked with the Red Devils as part of the van Gaal revolution.

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