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United linked with move for Barcelona star

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Could Sergi Roberto be the answer to José Mourinho’s problems?

FC Barcelona v Chapecoense - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

It’s invariably hard to tell truth from falsehood during the transfer window, but one thing we do know is that José Mourinho isn’t yet wholly satisfied with his Manchester United squad. Ideally he’d like a winger — probably Inter Milan’s Ivan Perišić — while recent reports suggest he’s also badgering Ed Woodward for depth in both full-back positions.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Danny Rose and Paris Saint-Germain’s Serge Aurier have both been linked over the last week, but one new name appearing in the press is that of Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto. The 25-year-old has spent his entire career at the Catalan club, and has broken into the first team over the last four seasons. According to the Barcelona-based paper SPORT, Juventus, Chelsea and United are all considering forking out to activate his €40 million release clause.

Roberto fulfils one of Mourinho’s criteria, having been converted by former Barça boss Luis Enrique from a central midfielder to a very serviceable right-back. He’d offer depth in both positions, and could certainly do a job for United. At that kind of price, it’s little wonder that there are teams interested. Roberto could also be interested in a move: SPORT claim that he’s no longer be a first-team player now Ernesto Valverde has taken charge at Camp Nou.

Though he certainly wouldn’t be most United fans’ first choice, the more you think about it, the more it kind of makes sense. Will it really happen? Probably not. It’s worth noting that at the bottom of SPORT’s report, they note that “Roberto's agent Josep Maria Orobitg spoke with the club this week and they told him they would be looking to renew his deal this year.” It’s more likely to be a negotiating tool than a real possibility. But it’s certainly not a ridiculous rumour.