It appears that Manchester United have not given up hope of signing a new defender, despite coming extremely close to signing Victor Lindelof from Benfica in January. It is believed that United pulled the plug on the deal, which could have cost the club £38 million along with add-ons. Aware that the right back position needs strengthening, it seems that United have switched focus towards Monaco defender Djibril Sidibe, who is a considerably less expensive option.
However, the Sun reports that the Red Devils face competition from none other than Manchester City for the signing of this defender, as Pep Guardiola has also identified the 24-year-old as someone who can replace Pablo Zabaleta in the long term. This is not the first time Sidibe has attracted the attention of English clubs, as Arsenal were believed to have been very keen on signing the right-back as early as last summer. He has certainly risen to the position of being one of the best defenders for the French national team in a short span of time after having made his debut only in September.
One of the reasons for City entering into the picture is the need to replace two of their first choice right backs – Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta. Guardiola recently admitted that the average age of the squad was a major concern. Sagna and Zabaleta are not just coming to the end of their contracts, but they are also approaching the end of their careers.
For United, it is a case of adding strength to the full-back with right-back Matteo Darmian has been used in place of Shaw, even when the England international has been fit. It suggests that Shaw is not in the frame of Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad, and he is widely expected to leave in the summer in order to enhance his first-team opportunities. Shaw has struggled with injuries ever since coming to United in a £30 million deal from Southampton.
Interestingly, Sidibe made the move to Monaco only in the summer. He had been with Lille for four years after having moved to the club in 2012 from Troyes for just €1.5 million. Monaco spent a whopping €15 million on the defender and they are likely to demand twice as much in order to let him leave. Monaco are top of the table with a three-point advantage over PSG after having overcome challenges from the likes of Nice and Lyon in recent weeks. Sidibe has been a regular player with 20 starts in the league. He has contributed a whopping four assists and two goals in these games.