According to reports from the Daily Mail, Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have earmarked Roma and German international Antonio Rudiger as the top summer transfer target following their defensive lapses this season after conceding four goals against Chelsea in the last Premier League game.
United appeared to have filled their long lasting gap in central defence since the departures of rock solid and ever dependable duos Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in 2014. In a haste to replace the duo the likes of Marcus Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Phil Jones have been played in the position with little or no success necessitating the £30 million signing of 22-year-old Ivorian Central defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal in the summer.
This appeared a perfect decision as United conceded only one goal in their first three league games against the likes of Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City but all that will change subsequently considering Jose Mourinho’s side have conceded five goals In the last league three games against Stoke City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Also presently United are in crisis as Chris Smalling has joined Eric Bailly who is out for two months as a result of knee injury.
At 23, the defender initially joined Roma in 2015 summer from VFB Stuttgart for €4 million on a season loan making 30 Seria A appearances and scoring two goals before making the move permanent for €9 million in May 2016. The defender who also had the chance to play international football for Sierra Leone as that is the country of his mother was tipped to make the cut for Joachim Low’s final squad for the European tournament in France in the summer tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on 7 June In a training session ruling him out of the tournament. In his place, Roma have used the likes of Fazio who was signed on loan from Tottenham and Manolas as the defender recovers from injury although he came on in the second half against Sassuolo in Wednesday’s away win which helped keep Roma within two points of leaders Juventus after ten games.
Rudiger was linked with Chelsea all summer but it appears Chelsea were reluctant to meet Roma’s price of £35 million considering the player’s long term injury at the time. The defender has won 11 caps for Germany already and scored in this first game for the reserves on his return last week.