Reports have suggested that Kalidou Koulibaly, one of Napoli's prized possessions, could be moving to a new club when the transfer window reopens.
The Italian side have reportedly placed a £70m price tag on the centre back that has attracted a lot of interest in recent years from Europe's top clubs including Man United. Another big name that the Red Devils have been linked with is Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.
Ed Woodward and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer do not have a bottomless pit of cash at their disposal and they will have to go up against tough competition in the search of their transfer targets. Of course it would be a huge boost to Solskjaer's side if they manage to pull a rabbit out of the hat and purchase both Koulibaly and Sancho but realistically they will have to make a choice between one or the other.
Despite having the third best defence in the Premier League this season, the priority for United has to be Koulibaly. Victor Lindelof had a shaky start at Old Trafford following his arrival in 2017 but has had a decent campaign this season. However, replacing Lindelof with Koulibaly will surely equip Solskjaer with the tools needed to take United to the next level in the space of a year.
Since the turn of the calendar year, United splashed the cash on bringing Bruno Fernandes to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon and the Portuguese international has had a wondrous effect on the team and is one of the key reasons why United are knocking on the door of the top four places. In addition, another signing that has played regularly this season is Daniel James. At 22 years of age, he has shown, in phases exactly what he is capable of. His pace can certainly put opposing full backs to the sword. If United sign Sancho, then it will leave James out in the cold and put his place in the Welsh national side at risk.
In the centre back position, Koulibaly and Maguire are exactly the sort of defenders that are capable of forming a potent partnership at the back. Their respected roles and traits as defenders complement each other well. Maguire is a ball-playing defender. The England international enjoys having the ball at his feet, brings the ball out of defence and occasionally attempts long range passes. Koulibaly, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense defender. As far as he is concerned, his role is to just eliminate the danger when present.
Considering the £70m asking price, it is a price tag that is affordable for top clubs in the modern day. The competition for the defender's signature will be fierce so United will probably offer rather extortionate amounts of money towards his wages and, of course, may have to offer more than £70m if other clubs are willing to exceed the asking price to make a more attractive offer to Napoli. If United are successful in this bid, this transfer could take a significant chunk out of Solskjaer's transfer budget which will most likely mean that Sancho will not be swapping Dortmund for United in the summer.
Two impressive figures at Old Trafford this season have been the versatile Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Both players are able to play as a winger on either side and up front. Rashford's strongest position and future is arguably on the left wing. With James on the right, Rashford on the left, Fernades in behind and Martial up front, the front four is already potent enough to be highly effective. The priority does not lie at improving the attack but improving the defence and finding an effective partner for the world's most expensive defender in Harry Maguire.
There is no doubting the quality that Sancho would bring to United but strengthening the defensive backline is a necessity for Solskjaer. Koulibaly would add a lot more quality. The Senegalese international's greatest asset is his strength and work rate, something that Lindelof simply does not have in abundance and, now at the age of 24, there is very limited room for improvement in his game. Koulibaly would even be an upgrade on the injury-prone Eric Bailly and Phil Jones.
The defensive backline is crying out for some added quality and Koulibaly is more than capable of delivering. Whilst Sancho would be a great addition too, the club need to bring Koulibaly in before they analyse how much money might be in the pot for Sancho and if it means there will not be enough for the Dortmund key player, then they will have to withdraw from that race.