Jeison Murillo
Mario Mandzukic (L) of Juventus FC competes with Jeison Murillo of FC Internazionale Milano during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and FC Internazionale Milano at Juventus Arena on February 28, 2016 in Turin, Italy. Getty

Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Inter Milan defender Jeison Murillo and are ready to make a move in the summer to address their problems at the back. The 23-year-old was voted the best young player in Copa America in 2015 and has already made 16 appearances for Colombia.

The Mirror reports that United have earmarked the defender as a long-term replacement for Daley Blind in the centre of defence to partner Chris Smalling with Blind being used there as a stop-gap option at this point. The management had put their weight behind Phil Jones to perform but the England international has been plagued with injury issues all season, forcing the Red Devils to look at other options.

Murillo has made 27 Serie A appearances this season, scoring two goals in the process and will be a good fit beside Smalling, who has been the standout player in a United jersey this campaign, alongside David de Gea. Smalling's performance has also won him a place in Roy Hodgson's starting XI to take on Germany in a friendly in Berlin.

The management is also waiting for the fitness of Luke Shaw, who is out for the entire season with a broken leg he sustained against PSV Eindhoven in the first game of the group stages of the Champions League. Louis van Gaal has been trying to sort his defence out since then, with Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young being incorporated in that position to provide cover for the former Southampton man.

The Red Devils will be hoping that they can pip Manchester City, West Ham and Liverpool to a place in the top four, currently in the sixth spot, only a point behind City with eight games left in the season. The 20-time English Champions are also active in the FA Cup where they have a replay against West Ham in the quarter-finals scheduled on 13 April.