Manchester United have made an enquiry regarding the availability of Juventus defender Merih Demiral this summer, according to a report by Turkish-Football.
The Red Devils are believed to have contacted the centre-back’s representatives to sound out a potential switch and are thought to be keen on bringing him to Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will find themselves up against Atletico Madrid in the pursuit of the 21-year-old though as the La Liga giants have also registered their own interest in the enforcer, whilst it is thought he would be keen on remaining at the Serie A outfit.
Juventus only signed Demiral from Sassuolo earlier this month for a transfer fee of €18million (£16.2m) but with the arrival of Matthijs de Ligt for an initial €75m (£67.8m), his future has already been thrown into doubt at the Old Lady.
With the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani already available at centre-back to Maurizio Sarri, the Turkish international’s chances of breaking into the first-team were going to be difficult without the arrival of the exciting Dutch teenager.
Demiral had an excellent campaign for both Alanyaspor and Sassuolo last season, with WhoScored’s data highlighting how solid he looked at the back. In his 39 appearances across all competitions for both sides, the 21-year-old managed to make an average of 1.8 tackles and 1.8 interceptions.
Those figures are better than the current crop of centre-backs at Old Trafford, with Victor Lindelof still someway behind those numbers. According to his stats by WhoScored, the Sweden international was ranked as their best centre-back option last season as he made an average of 1.3 tackles and 0.8 interceptions in the 30 Premier League matches he featured in, whilst Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly both registered 1.3 tackles and 1.1 interceptions and Phil Jones managed 1.1 and 1.3 respectively.
A move to Manchester United could appeal to Demiral as well as he has previously admitted Nemanja Vidic is his idol and someone he watched play for the Red Devils when he was younger.
Demiral recently told the Tam Saha magazine (via Turkish-Football): “When I was young I always followed Nemanja Vidic at Manchester United. I used to watch clips of him on the internet. He’s still my idol even if he has retired. He was brave, a warrior, never gave up and was a true leader.”
Having come in for scathing criticism from both Gary Neville and Roy Keane, it is hardly a surprise that Manchester United are continuing to look at defenders this summer, as they will need to improve on the 54 goals they conceded last season in the Premier League if they are to challenge for a place back in the Champions League.
Demiral’s figures from last year appear to suggest that he could be a good addition to their backline and could help Solskjaer with his rebuilding, whilst he would also fit the type of player the manager is looking to bring into Old Trafford this summer as he looks to inject youth into the first-team squad.
But, it seems they could face some difficulty in getting a deal over the line if he wants to stay at Juventus and prove he has what it takes to play for the Old Lady, even if he has the chance to follow in the footsteps of his idol.
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