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Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Roma star Kostas Manolas, according to reports in Spain.
The 27-year-old has a £30.75m release clause in his contract but it does not become active until the summer and United are unwilling to risk losing their man at the end of the season.
The Red Devils’ failure to strengthen at centre-back last summer infuriated Jose Mourinho and the Portuguese essentially wrote off United’s chances this season with their current crop of defenders.
United had shown a keen interested in Porto ace Eder Militao but Marca claim United are close to signing Manolas instead.
While no fee is specified, United’s decision to opt for the Greek defender is seen as a positive for Real Madrid’s pursuit of Militao.
United are yet to appoint a permanent successor for Jose Mourinho but have consulted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the club’s transfer targets.
The Red Devils 32 goals in just 21 league games this term – though only two of those have come in the Norwegian’s four league matches at the club.
Speaking last summer, Manolas hinted at a move to Old Trafford by naming United as one of the clubs he dreams of playing for.
‘It’s only natural you want to play for the biggest clubs, like Barcelona , Manchester United , Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich,’ said Manolas.
United are currently in Dubai for some warm weather training before their Premier League clash with Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday.
Solskjaer insists he is happy with the squad at his disposal but says he’s happy to work alongside executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward on the club’s targets.
‘I don’t expect anyone to come in but obviously if the club have targeted and identified a few and I think they might fit here, I’ll give my thumbs up. But it’s not just my decision,’ said Solskjaer.
‘Nobody had to tell me I had loads of talented players [to inherit at United]. I can see that from outside.’