Man Utd priority transfer target emerges but world-record transfer fee needed

Man Utd have been porous defensively this season, and it will reportedly take a mammoth bid to land their primary defensive target this summer.

The Red Devils have conceded 44 goals in 33 Premier League games, giving them the second worst defensive record of the top eight sides in the table.

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That comes despite the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has countless options at his disposal already for his backline, and so perhaps it’s a question of quality over quantity.

As seen with the impact of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool since he joined from Southampton last year, one big-money signing of a defensive rock to lead the side could make all the difference in turning them into a genuine threat for major honours again.

With the Dutchman in mind, it’s claimed by The Express that after being priced out of a move for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, Man Utd will focus on Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.

However, that swoop won’t be cheap either, as it’s suggested that they’ll need to pay the Italian giants £110m, which would eclipse the world-record transfer fee spent on a defender by Liverpool on Van Dijk last summer, with BBC Sport noting that he arrived at Anfield for £75m.

In turn, the touted move for Koulibaly would shatter the previous record, although it could be argued that the Senegalese international is worth the investment for the influence he could have at the back for Solskjaer’s side.

The 27-year-old has been in Naples since 2014, making over 200 appearances for the Partenopei while gaining experience at the highest level both in Italy and in Europe after regular appearances in the Champions League.

Physically commanding with pace, great reading of the game, aerial prowess and an ability to build out from the back, Koulibaly is arguably the perfect modern-day centre-half.

With that in mind, Man Utd would surely be well advised to sign him if they can prise him away from Napoli, but time will tell if a bid will be made to meet his £110m release clause.

With Napoli also continuing to fall short of winning trophies, it could be argued that this is a good time to try and convince Koulibaly to start a new challenge elsewhere.

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