Manchester United have turned their attention to Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci as Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen his backline before the start of the season. The Portuguese manager is keen to sign an experienced centre-back despite bringing in Eric Bailly from Villarreal earlier in the summer.

According to ESPN FC, the Italy international's name was mentioned during the two clubs' negotiations for Paul Pogba and the Red Devils are set to make him a priority target once they secure the French midfielder's signature. Mourinho has identified the central defence as an area that needs more strengthening after he shores up the midfield.

The former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager is confident he can convert Bailly into a top class defender, but is wary about his lack of experience at the top level. United were linked with a move for Raphael Varane, but according to Spanish publication Marca, the defender has rejected a chance to move to Old Trafford and is keen to fight for his place under Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Further, apart from the 20-time English champions, Premier League rivals Chelsea have also been heavily linked with a move for Bonucci. Antonio Conte is desperate to strengthen his defence and is keen to reunite with the defender, whom he managed during his stint as Juventus manager. The Serie A champions are reluctant to allow one of their key players to leave and have reportedly attached a €60m (£50m, $66m) price tag on the defender.

The 29-year-old defender's future was called into question following Juventus' capture of Mehdi Benatia on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich, which leaves manager Massimiliano Allegri with a wealth of options in central defence. Apart from Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, they also have young defender Danielle Rugani on their books.

Leonardo Bonucci
Leonardo Bonucci has won five consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus since the start of the 2011/12 season Getty

Meanwhile, according to the Guardian, the Red Devils have agreed a deal with Juventus for Pogba and it is likely to be a world-record transfer eclipsing the £85m Real Madrid paid to Tottenham Hotspur to sign Gareth Bale.