Diego Godin
Diego Godin is linked with a January move to Manchester United Getty

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has laughed off reports suggesting Manchester United are poised to launch an offer for Diego Godin.

United's decision to not sign an established centre-half following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand has fallen under scrutiny during a spate of injuries that has ravaged manager Louis van Gaal's defensive options.

While Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo have shown signs of a promising partnership, having started United's last two games, lingering doubts over their long-term fitness see the club linked with host of additions ahead of the January transfer window.

The Daily Telegraph report that Van Gaal has included Uruguay international Godin on his shortlist of targets and will consider making a bid of €36m (£28.5m) – enough to activate the 28-year-old defender's release clause.

But when quizzed on the reports, Simeone was dismissive, telling reporters: "Let's talk about something else. How much? 20? For Godin?

"It must be a mistake."

Godin was fundamental to Atletico's La Liga success last term, scoring the equaliser against Barcelona in the final game of the season, which brought the league title back to the Vicente Calderon for the first time in 18 years.

Unless Godin pushes for a transfer, United are likely to be forced to look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements.

Van Gaal's injury concerns have eased somewhat in recent weeks, with Jonny Evans also closing in on a return having featured twice for the club's Under-21 ranks.

Rafael da Silva, who has not featured since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in November, has also returned to first-team training after recovering from a groin problem but Phil Jones' return date remains uncertain after the England international suffered shin splints in October.

Luke Shaw is also a few weeks away from a return after suffering an ankle injury in the 2-1 win over Arsenal.