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Coral’s Rumour Reel: Red Devils to finally acquire defensive boost?

Manchester United have long been linked with a swoop for new names in their defensive ranks at Old Trafford, since the departure of both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, but Louis van Gaal is hoping to end that wait very soon.

The Red Devils (5/1 with Coral to win 2015/16 PL title) are continuously being linked with some of Europe’s most talented centre backs, and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane is the latest young defender tipped for a move to England. The 22-year-old France international could be used as part of the deal that sees David de Gea go in the opposite direction, in the summer’s frustratingly ongoing transfer saga.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - Santiago Bernabeu

As well as a new centre back, United are searching for talented full backs to arrive, and the top-flight outfit could make a £10.2m bid for Monaco’s highly-rated Fabinho, but the Ligue side are reluctant to offload their promising wideman.

United have also been keen to snap up a new frontman, with Robin van Persie possibly set to depart and Javier Hernandez’s future still unclear. Atletico Madrid marksman Mario Mandzukic is a reported target, but Everton’s 22-year-old Belgian Romelu Lukaku is an unlikely alternative.

Netherlands international Van Persie recently claimed he is ready to fight for his place at Old Trafford but it hasn’t stopped the likes of Galatasaray enquiring about the Dutchman’s services (11/2 to join). Although, the forward’s substantial wages may be a stumbling block for possible move to Turkey to join international teammate Wesley Sneijder, with the Super Lig champions also targeting Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Old Trafford

Elsewhere, Serie A champions and Champions League finalists Juventus are keen on luring Chelsea’s Brazilian playmaker Oscar to Turin this summer, with an £18m move being readied by the dominant Italian league side (14/1 to win 2015/16 CL).

On the south coast, Southampton have tried to fend off interest for their French midfield maestro Morgan Schneiderlin by slapping a £24m price-tag on him. Arsenal, Liverpool and United are all reportedly interested, but may be unwilling to fork out such a massive fee for the Saints star.

Arsene Wenger might be forced into acquiring a new midfielder, though, with Manchester City upping their quest to capture in-form Gunner Jack Wilshere, whose impressive England performances have recently boosted the Sky Blues’ interest.

Meanwhile, Scottish Premiership champions Celtic are still in pursuit of Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, with the Scotland international having just one more year on his current deal on Wearside. However, the attacker would need to take a big pay-cut in order to seal a move to Ronny Deila’s Bhoys.