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Manchester United set to raid Italy for defensive reinforcements

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is one of three centre-backs linked with a move to United.

SSC Napoli v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Serie A may have fallen on hard times, but its reputation as a centre of defensive excellence remains alive and well. Manchester United have been linked with three centre-backs currently plying their trade in Italy’s top flight, as Ed Woodward looks to beef up a back line that remains United’s Achilles’ heel.

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is the most well-known of the three targets, with Senegalese international having established his position as one of Europe’s top defenders since arriving in Naples from Genk five years ago. However, he’d likely command a huge transfer fee with four years still to run on his contract, which may force United to look elsewhere.

Also on the list is Inter’s Milan Skriniar, a 23-year-old Slovakian international who has cemented a first-team position under Luciano Spalletti. Four years Koulibaly’s junior, Skriniar may well represent a better long-term investment for United.

The final centre-back to be freshly linked with a move to Old Trafford is the least well-known: Sampdoria’s Joachim Andersen. The 22-year-old is yet to make a single international appearance for Denmark, though his impressive form this season has already seen him linked with moves to Inter and Tottenham Hotspur. He’d almost certainly be the cheapest of the three, but would also be the biggest gamble. With the jury still out on Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf, Woodward may be in no mood to roll the dice again.