MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Manchester United are not in the market for a centre-back, despite several newspapers linking the club with a move for Everton defender John Stones.
According to a report in the Daily Mirror, Manchester United are now considering a move for Stones after apparently failing to secure the signature of Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid.
The report claims Louis van Gaal is preparing to rival champions Chelsea and Manchester City for the England player and are even prepared to offer Jonny Evans as part of a deal to persuade the Toffees to sell.
However, Sky Sports is reporting that the reports are far from the truth and the Red Devils have no interest in signing the 21-year-old.
According to Sky Sports reporter James Cooper, van Gaal was interested in signing a centre-back, but his focus was more on capturing an experienced defender to complement the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo.
It is believed van Gaal sees Stones as a similar type of player to Jones and Smalling, who are still learning their trades and feels the Everton man would be better off continuing his development at Goodison Park.
Cooper said what the Red Devils would like is a veteran defender to come in and change things – much like what Nemanja Vidić did when arrived at Old Trafford in 2006.
That’s the reason the Dutchman was so determined to land Ramos, as he feels the Spanish international would add the required quality the side needed to challenge for the English Premier League title this coming season.
But Real Madrid have no desire to let the star defender leave the Santiago Bernabéu, with reports in Spain even suggesting the 29-year-old is about to sign a new contract extension that would keep him with the European giants until 2020.
Manchester United have also been linked with Argentine centre-back Nicolas Otamendi, but again, van Gaal has moved to shoot down those rumours.
The Dutchman said he is happy with his current options at the centre-half positions and does not think Otamendi will be going to Old Trafford this summer.
Otamendi has told Valencia that he wants to leave the club this summer and is determined to get a deal done somewhere else.
It is thought the English Premier League is his preferred destination, but at the moment, the La Liga club claimed there have not been any formal bids for the player.
The coming season could see Holland international Daley Blind starting with either Smalling or Jones in the heart of the defense, with Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian to start at the full-back positions.