By Dave Marshall
Jose Mourinho has earned plaudits not for just bolstering his squad this summer but he has been able to lure top-notch players to Manchester United. However, there seem to be a consensus that the Red Devils are a player short to become a title-contending side.
Whilst Man United have been heavily tipped to add an attacking player to their ranks, we could yet snap up a deal for versatile Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto, according to the Mirror.
Roberto has seen his stock rise in the last two seasons as he has imposed himself as the right back of the Blaugrana side. Despite playing in an unfamiliar right back position more often than not, he has been a consistent figure for the Camp Nou side but under new manager Ernesto Valverde, he could be reduced to the fringes.
Barcelona had their pre-season tour in the USA and Roberto was left out of the party in one of their games, he also featured for 28 minutes on their return to Spain against Chapecoense and he played a bit-part against their Capital rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup first leg.
It is understood that Roberto’s probable desire to quit Barcelona stems from the signing of Brazil born midfielder Paulinho who joined from Guangzhou Evergrande earlier this week. Sport claims the signing of Paulinho could have a knock-on effect on Roberto’s role at the Camp Nou.
The report further added that several top flights European sides are alerted to the player’s situation but Manchester United and Chelsea have been dubbed as front runners for the player’s signature. However, Barcelona do not want to lose the player.
Roberto is contract-tied to Barcelona until 2019 but he has a €40million (£36.3m) release clause in his contract, which now seems like a pittance for Manchester United and Chelsea to pay given the amount they have spent and the inflation of the market. However, the Red Devils may be looking at ousting Chelsea to the signing of the versatile defensive star.
Man United have failed in the attempt to sign Ivan Perisic and Gareth Bale, Roberto is a defensive player but he will provide option for Mourinho in midfield and attack.