Chelsea and Man Utd go head-to-head for Miranda?
Atletico Madrid and Brazil defender Joao Miranda could spark a transfer tussle between Premier League giants Chelsea (6/4 with Coral to retain the Premier League in 2015/16) and Manchester United (5/1), according to reports, with both clubs believed to be scouring the market for a top class centre back.
The Samba Boys centre half was widely expected to exit the Vicente Calderon last summer, with Old Trafford the mooted destination then, but Atleti’s reported £22m valuation is said to have put a spanner in the works.
The cultured defender has been a crucial part of Diego Simeone’s successful side, and lifted La Liga with the Spanish capital club last campaign but, at 30, could now seek the chance to prove himself in the Premier League.
With the Brazilian rearguard enforcer’s Atletico contract due to expire next summer, both the Blues and Red Devils would likely be haggling for a discounted price, though Atleti would understandably be hopeful that competition for his signature would mean Miranda could still command a high fee.
Strong in the air and at set pieces, imposing and powerful Miranda should slot seamlessly into the rough and tumble of English football, though his experience would arguably be a better fit for Man Utd, as Chelsea already boast veterans Gary Cahill and John Terry, and could instead use an injection of fresh legs from younger reinforcements.
However, Simeone is rumoured to be interested in returning left back Filipe Luis, who was snapped up by Jose Mourinho last summer but struggled to find a spot in the starting XI at Stamford Bridge, to Madrid.
This could give the west Londoners a handy advantage in any negotiations, though much may depend on Atletico’s cross-capital neighbours Real.
Chelsea are believed to have a long-standing interest in Los Blancos defender Raphael Varane, a former charge of Mourinho, who gave him his Bernabeu debut in 2011 when in charge of the Spanish giants.
However, with managerial upheaval at the club following Carlo Ancelotti’s exit and the recent appointment of Rafa Benitez, Real look likely to hang on to the 22-year-old France international, with a double bid of around £110m from Man Utd for the centre back plus Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale reportedly rejected by the Spaniards.