Manchester United give up on €60m target and get green light for Premier League defensive leader

Manchester United have reportedly switched their focus away from Benfica defender Victor Lindelof and will instead swoop for Jose Fonte in January.

Jose Mourinho has had his defensive headaches so far this season, with United conceding 16 goals in 14 games thus far, with only Liverpool letting in more out of the top six clubs in the Premier League table.

With Eric Bailly set for international duty in January with the Africa Cup of Nations, a new defender has seemingly been top of the transfer agenda, and according to the Daily Record, a new favourite to move to Old Trafford has emerged.

It’s claimed that talks with Benfica over the signing of Lindelof have stalled, with the Portuguese giants demanding a €60m fee that United are not willing to meet.

The Swedish international has a €30m release clause, but that can only be activated in the summer according to the report, and so a January move looks highly unlikely.

In turn, United have switched their attention closer to home with the report going on to add that Southampton have indicated to Fonte that they are willing to allow him to leave in the January transfer window.

The 32-year-old has been a solid defensive presence for the Saints since joining the club in 2010, playing a pivotal role in their rise up the leagues and into the top flight as well as featuring in Europe.

As a result, his loss would be a major blow for Claude Puel and the club, but with the appeal of United, it will prove difficult to deny him the chance to move to Old Trafford.

Fonte is arguably the perfect signing for Mourinho, as he will offer leadership, experience and defensive solidity right away given how familiar he is with the English game.

Paired with someone like Bailly in the second half of the campaign, United supporters can expect a much more solid foundation on which to build and potentially turn their season around as they look to close a nine-point gap on the top four.

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