Manchester United are reportedly looking at the possibility of triggering the £44m release clause in the contract of Napoli defender Elseid Hysaj. Jose Mourinho is said to have identified the need for a new right-sided full-back with Antonio Valencia having entered the twilight of his professional career.
According to The Sun, United are making their moves to pursue Albanian international Hysaj, who is presently in the ranks of Napoli. The 24-year-old is widely reckoned as the one of the best performing right-backs over the past 24 months and United are supposedly keen on his signature after knowing of his relatively cheap £44m release clause.
United manager Mourinho has mostly relied on the services of Valencia at right-back since his arrival at Old Trafford but he is understood to be concerned over the club’s long-term plans with the Ecuadorian approaching his 33rd birthday.
As such, Hysaj appears as the leading candidate to provide competition for places with Matteo Darmian widely expected to join Serie A champions Juventus during the summer transfer window, as per The Sun.
United do have a couple of academy graduates in Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe, who can slot into the right side of the backline, but judging by Mourinho’s experience with youth, the duo could be loaned out for another season at the least to develop their skills.
Manchester United finished their league season with 81 points from their 38 games but there were still 19 points off Manchester City, who cruised towards the Premier League crown.
With this in mind, Mourinho is keen to bridge the gap between the cross-town rivals and strengthening the full-back positions alongside the midfield could be crucial towards the club’s title prospects next term.
The Mancunian giants finish their season with an FA Cup final date against Chelsea on Saturday and they will be hoping to inflict further misery on their west London giants by securing a record 13th title in the competition. Antonio Conte’s recently failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.