Premier League

Top 5 Man United Rumours Analysed: Bale, Aurier, Perisic

 • by Frank Smith
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Manchester United have strengthened every key area of their team this summer, with the signings of Victor Lindelöf, Nemanja Matić and Romelu Lukaku reinforcing central defence, central midfield and centre-forward positions.

Jose Mourinho is, however, unlikely to be happy leaving anything to chance and the club still have a few weaknesses to address in the transfer window.

With a Europa League win under their belts last season, United are aiming to push on and challenge for the Premier League title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

With this in mind, they have been linked to a number of players.

Here, using the Football Whispers Index, which measures the probability of transfer rumours out of five, we break down the latest news regarding five of the top Manchester United targets.

SERGE AURIER – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN – 4.5

Reports in France suggest Manchester United have already agreed a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for the transfer of Aurier.

The Ivorian has slipped down the pecking order with the French giants following the arrival of Dani Alves to compete with Thomas Meunier.

However, such competition wouldn’t exist at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s current first-choice right-back is converted winger Antonio Valencia and, while the Ecuadorian has adapted well to the role, he is 31 and in need of a longer term successor.

The 24-year-old Aurier would no doubt be rotated in and out of the team with the idea being that, in a year or so, he would nail down a regular starting berth at United.

His pace, power and attacking intent would be welcome attributes at a club with a long history of forward-thinking full-backs.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIĆ – FREE AGENT – 3.8

Signing, or re-signing, Zlatan probably isn’t the most exciting transfer news for Manchester United fans this summer, but it would potentially be a massive move for the team.

While Lukaku can expect to hold down the lone striker role for the foreseeable future, having a team-mate of such experience to back-up and support him would help ease the Belgian’s transition.

At 36 years of age, the Swedish hitman is past the peak of his powers. And, given he is still recuperating from an injury suffered at the back end of last season, there is no guarantee he would come back to United at his productive best.

But, assuming they hold off reportedly growing interest from AC Milan – another of Zlatan’s ex’s – his signing would nonetheless be a boost ahead of the new season.


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IVAN PERIŠIĆ – INTERNAZIONALE – 3.6

Perišić’s future remains up in the air. The Inter wide man has been a Manchester United target for quite some time now, but as yet a deal has not been struck with the Italian club.

However, fresh reports suggest that a player-plus-cash deal could go ahead with Frenchman Anthony Martial having agreed terms with the Nerazzurri. This could help to facilitate Perišić going the other way.

Mourinho tended to play without a winger on the left flank last season, instead utilising the likes of Martial and Marcus Rashford in the role.

However, the Croatian is a natural and would provide exactly what is needed – pace, dynamism, end product and work ethic.

Whether the 28-year-old Perišić is worth giving up a talented prospect for is a separate argument however.

LEANDER DENDONCKER – ANDERLECHT – 2.1

Dendoncker is viewed by many as one of the most enticing prospects to come out of Belgian football of late.

The 22-year-old is an established first team player at Anderlecht and already has two caps for his national team.

Manchester United are supposedly keeping tabs on the youngster, but with the arrival of Matic there is no rush to sign the player this summer. Even if he were to arrive, he would likely play the role of back-up, at least for the time being.

But United may be wise not to leave it too late to make their move – it is believed that Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and RB Leipzig are also now monitoring the Belgian.

GARETH BALE – REAL MADRID – 1.9

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Zinedine Zidane’s decision to switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 was one of the most important tactical changes made at the top level of European football last season.

The move made Real Madrid more difficult to break down, enabled Isco to flourish and allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to take up a full-on striker role.

Bale was left out, however. Injuries derailed his momentum and, with the change in shape coupled with Isco’s form, his place in the line-up is under threat ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

Now Spanish outlet Diario Gol are reporting that the Welsh star is threatening to leave for Manchester United this summer if his squad status is compromised.

Bale has been linked to United countless times in the past, and he would make an excellent addition to the Red Devils squad.

However, given the presence of Juan Mata and the likely high price needed to seal a deal, his signing is not a priority for the club.

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