The Manchester United hierarchy have instructed Jose Mourinho to trim his squad before delving into the transfer market to make further signings. The Portuguese manager has made four signings thus far this summer including the world-record deal for Paul Pogba from Juventus.
According to ESPN FC, the Red Devils boss is keen to sign an experienced central defender similar to former skipper Nemanja Vidic despite signing Eric Bailly for £30m ($38.8m) from Villarreal earlier in the summer. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss is keen to add experience as he is unsure if the Ivory Coast international, who had just over one season of first-team football in Spain, can handle the pressure of playing at the top level on a regular basis.
Mourinho has made it clear that he wants no more than 23 to 26 players in his squad for the upcoming season, which leaves a number of players fighting for their futures at the club. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been the biggest casualty thus far, after the German was asked to train away from the first-team as they look to offload him.
Apart from the German midfielder, there are number of players who are set to be deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford. Adnan Januzaj is yet another high profile player facing the axe, with Sunderland said to be close to signing the midfielder on a season-long loan.
Juan Mata ad Daley Blind are also facing uncertain futures at the club as they are not guaranteed regular places in the starting XI owing to the arrivals of Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The former is also likely to be pushing for a move after being humiliated by the Portuguese manager during their win over Leicester City in the Community Shield clash on Sunday (7 August). The Spaniard was brought on as a second-half substitute, but was replaced after 30 minutes as Mourinho tried to protect the Red Devils' slender 2-1 lead in the dying minutes of the game.
The club are certain that signing an experienced central defender will require a further outlay of funds and following their capture of Pogba for a record £89m, they are keen to recoup some cash from transfers before investing it into the market yet again. The Red Devils have been linked with Juventus' Leonardo Bonucci and Real Madrid star Raphael Varane.
The former is unlikely to leave the Turin club this summer, and United will be reluctant to get into protracted negotiations yet again with the Serie A club, while the latter has committed his future to the Spanish capital club. Apart from the duo, an ESPN report had linked Mourinho with a move for Southampton skipper Jose Fonte, who is experienced and has vast knowledge of the Premier League.
Saints boss Claude Puel, however, has made it clear that the Portuguese defender, who was part of the Euro 2016 winning squad, will remain with the south coast club for the upcoming season.
"I do not think there is a possibility for Jose to leave us. I am sure that he can play all these games, he is very proficient," Puel said, as quoted by the Daily Express.
"When I see him on the pitch he is interesting, very professional and he has a good attitude. [Fonte has] re-joined in training. I do not know if he will start the game [against Watford on Saturday] but we will see."
"The market window is difficult for the club and the players but it is very important for the team. Many clubs can be interested in players that is normal," he added.