Man Utd and Liverpool handed blow in pursuit for £70m rated centre-back

Despite coming off the back of a campaign in which Manchester United boasted the second-best defensive record in the Premier League, defensive reinforcements are needed ahead of next season.

That defensive record has more to do with having the best goalkeeper in the world, David de Gea, rather than a solid back four.

For instance, the two full-back positions were taken up by wingers, not defenders. A centre-back pairing was non-existent, but Chris Smalling was a frequent starter.

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Before I go on, that, on paper, doesn’t sound like a back four capable of winning the Premier League title.

The Reds would have conceded more than 28 goals in 38 league games it De Gea wasn’t between the posts, yet champions Manchester City were subject to just one less goal.

However, Pep Guardiola’s scored 38 more goals which would suggest that’s where the problem lies.

As noted by The Sun, they have been linked with a swoop for promising Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skrinar. We were reportedly short of his £70 million valuation with a £57 million bid, but now Mourinho has seemingly suffered another blow after the Slovakian addressed his future himself.

Liverpool are another Premier League club that has been heavily linked with Skrinar, so this ought to come as a blow to them too.

“I am very happy with the way we [Inter] finished off the season,” he is quoted in the report as telling Radio Express, as per Caught Offside. “I don’t know about any offers, but I want to stay at Inter.

“I am very happy with the way they were genuinely interested in me.”

The 23-year-old featured 40 times for Luciano Spalletti’s side as Inter fought their way back into the Champions League.

The Italian giants will hope Skriniar remains at the San Siro for many more years, although that sounds likely given his recent interview.

It doesn’t look to be a likely move as things stand.

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