Nathaniel Clyne
Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne is January target for Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal. Getty Images/Steve Bardens

Manchester United are reportedly keen to sign Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne during the ongoing January transfer window.

According to ESPN, Louis van Gaal is keen to strengthen his side this month and wants to bring in at least two players to build up the defensive side of his team.

The report claims that the Dutchman is desperate to sign Kevin Strootman from AS Roma this month, but with the Serie A club unwilling to sell, he has shifted focus to the right and central defensive positions.

The Old Trafford club have had a wretched season on the injury front and with all of their first choice defenders injured at some point during the season, the manager has had to rely on the club's youngsters, which has left the team vulnerable against stronger opposition.

Clyne has been a long-term United target and his performances this season have seen him attract interest from the top clubs in England and also receive a call up from Roy Hodgson for the senior Three Lions squad.

The 23-year-old is now the first-choice full-back for both club and country making him a prized asset for any team.

Southampton are aware that he will depart in the summer, but United, who are in the race for a top four spot with the St Mary's outfit will hope to negotiate a deal to bring him to Old Trafford in the next couple of weeks.

Van Gaal has been linked with moves for various defensive players in recent months, with Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels and Strootman being the most frequently mentioned targets.

Both the players have spoken of their desire to remain with their current clubs for the moment, meaning the 20-times English champions will have to wait till the summer to bring them to Old Trafford.

Apart from Clyne, the former Bayern Munich boss is also keeping tabs on Everton right-back Seamus Coleman, but will have to wait till the summer to get him as Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has dismissed reports regarding a January move for one of his key players.