By Dave Marshall
Manchester United have had a bid for AC Milan defender, Alessio Romagnoli turned down.
Corriere dello Sport report (Man United Evening News) that the rejected offer for the Italian international was worth €50m, with the 7-time Champions League winners insisting that we must increase our offer to bring him to Old Trafford.
Earlier in the window, United had been linked to 31-year-old Leonardo Bonucci, who plays alongside Romagnoli at Milan, but Mourinho has switched his attention to the man eight years his junior.
Milan are open to the possibility of selling Romagnoli as they need to free up finances in a bid to meet up with UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, having spent extravagantly last summer.
The added fact that the club have been banned from European competitions for the next two years means that they need to sell players to balance the books.
Romagnoli is a classy centre-back who is known not only for his aerial strength at 6ft 2in and astute reading of the game, but also for his ability on the ball.
The latter is an area in which Phil Jones and Chris Smalling fall short; in the 13 Premier League games the duo started last season, we scored just 16 goals; 1.2 per game, when our overall goals per game average was 1.8.
It might seem unusual to criticize centre-backs for goalscoring issues but with the midfield areas so often congested, we need defenders to be able to switch play and create more space for the more attacking performers.
Eric Bailly does that superbly but was hampered by injuries last season while Victor Lindelöf is still adjusting to the physicality of the English game.
Romagnoli, who has made 115 appearances, scoring 5 times since joining Milan in 2015, has grown into one of the best defenders in the Serie A and has attracted a host of top European clubs; we are, rightly, among the suitors.