Chelsea and Manchester United to go head-to-head over Brazil international defender

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Chelsea and Manchester United are prepared to begin a transfer battle for Joao Miranda with his future at Atletico Madrid in doubt ahead of the summer transfer window.

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The Telegraph report that the Brazil international is a target for the Premier League duo, with Diego Simeone beginning to accept that he may be forced into selling his defensive star this summer to avoid losing him on a free at the end of next season.

According to the newspaper, Chelsea have been offered centre-back Toby Alderweireld, who has spent this season on loan at the St Mary’s Stadium from the Estadio Vicente Calderon, in a ploy to stop Jose Mourinho from attempting to prize Miranda to Stamford Bridge.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem to have worked with the Portuguese manager poised to table an offer. The former Real Madrid boss has conceded defeat for rumoured target Raphael Varane following Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking, the Telegraph claim.

However, Mourinho’s difficulty could be in guaranteeing regular football for Miranda with John Terry and Gary Cahill the preferred central defensive partnership for the Blues. Nonetheless, the latter hasn’t had the most impressive of seasons, despite their title triumph, and his stats are illustrative of this. The England international has averaged just 0.9 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per game. Compare this to Miranda’s average of 2 and 1.6 [via WhoScored].

However, at 30-years-old, he certainly wouldn’t be a long-term successor to 29-year-old Gary Cahill or 34-year-old John Terry.

Louis van Gaal is also toying with a bid for Miranda, as the Dutchman aims to strengthen the Red Devils’ frail defence. The former Netherlands manager is expected to spend big again this summer and is searching for balance across his first-team [via the Express].

Manchester United have been linked with Mats Hummels for much of the campaign, however the German has reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford [via The Guardian], and Louis van Gaal will therefore have to look elsewhere.

Miranda has been a regular for Atleti this term – making 30 appearances in all competitions. But with 20-year-old central defender Jose Gimenez having impressed this season, cashing in may not be a bad idea.

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