Jose Mourinho was desperate to strengthen Manchester United’s defence last summer but neither Toby Alderweireld or Harry Maguire were his top targets, according to Fabio Capello.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward reportedly refused to sanction a £70million offer and meet Tottenham’s asking price for the Belgium international, while similar reservations were held over England World Cup hero Maguire, who subsequently signed a new deal with Leicester City. Although Mourinho oversaw the purchases of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof for a combined total of just over £70m, neither has earned the trust of the under-fire United manager who has already fielded six different central defensive partnerships this season.
Former England boss Capello, however, told Sky Italia’s ‘Sky Calcio Live’ that Mourinho had his eye on two of Serie A’s star defenders over the summer. ‘This summer at a meeting of the coaches, I met Mourinho. He was looking for two defenders: one was [Milan] Skriniar and the other was [Kalidou] Koulibaly.’ the Italian was quoted as saying by Calciomercato.
Skriniar, the giant Solvakia international, has been one of the linchpins of Inter’s recent revival and return to the Champions League, while Koulibaly has long been linked a move to the Premier League, primarily with Chelsea.
Speaking recently, the Senegal international, who starred in Napoli’s win over Liverpool last night, revealed the reason he turned down the opportunity to reuinte with Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge this summer. ‘I try to be a real person,’ he said. “For me it was very important to repay the trust that everyone has in me. ‘I had the chance to renew until 2023.
I thank everyone, the president, the staff and all the players. The staff has really helped me a lot. ‘I am very happy to be here, I am confident for the future and I am very happy in Naples. Renewing for five years for me is a very normal thing, I hope to repay this on the field.’