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Manchester United in transfer battle with Chelsea as both clubs fight over key defensive solution

Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly both looking to try and sign Hoffenheim defender Niklas Sule in the January transfer window.

Jose Mourinho will be looking to bolster his defensive options in the New Year, with Eric Bailly set for international duty at the African Cup of Nations while Chris Smalling is currently sidelined with injury.

According to The Sun, scouts have advised him to target Sule, who has impressed in the Bundesliga having been an ever-present so far this season with a goal and an assist in 12 appearances in all competitions too.

Given United have conceded 15 goals in just 13 games, the joint-worst defensive record out of the top seven teams in the Premier League, it’s no surprise that the defence will be an area that is focused on in the upcoming transfer window.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte has had much more joy after switching to a 3-4-3 system with his side picking up seven consecutive wins in the league and have conceded just one goal in that run.

However, with John Terry not getting any younger and with Branislav Ivanovic’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, he is in need of identifying long-term replacements.

As per the report, Chelsea are also keen on Sule, although the German centre-half has also previously been of interest to both Arsenal and Tottenham which suggests that there will be a real battle between the Premier League giants to land his signature.

Time will tell who makes their move for Sule, but United’s need for a centre-half seems to be more apparent at this stage to plug the gaps at the back.

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