After missing out on Sergio Reguilon to Tottenham, Manchester United have reportedly set their eyes on a new left-back target in Alex Telles of Porto.
After agreeing terms with Reguilon but refusing to accept any form of buy-back clause in the deal to bring him from Real Madrid to Old Trafford, Tottenham swooped in and sealed the signing of the young Spaniard. This forced Manchester United to look elsewhere and according to three very reliable sources, Alex Telles is the man.
David Ornstein, Mohamed Bouhafsi and Fabrizio Romano all report that Manchester United are in talks to agree a fee with FC Porto over a deal for the left-back, with the player already agreeing terms on a five-year contract at Old Trafford.
But who is Alex Telles and what will he bring to Old Trafford (or more likely PSG the way this summer has gone)?
Firstly, he’s a huge threat going forward. Very comfortable on the ball, Telles has the ability to link well with the midfield but also to play his way out of trouble from the back if necessary. When in attacking scenarios, Telles loves to overlap his winger and has a wand of a left foot with excellent delivery. He’s also a good set-piece taker, as penalties and free-kicks helped him to 12 goals and 13 assists for Porto last season as they marched to the Liga NOS title.
Defensively, he is competent. He is prone to the odd brain fart, but nothing more than Luke Shaw currently provides. Positionally he can be a bit iffy and he can sometimes take a while to get back into position after an attack breaks down, but physically he is strong and not scared to put a foot in.
With Telles entering the final year of his contract and Porto having financial difficulties, it’s expected that a fee of just €20 million would be enough to convince the Portuguese champions to part ways with arguably their best player. That said, there are some reports that Manchester United are unwilling to pay that and will look to negotiate the fee down.
Personally, I feel not paying the price is going to cost Manchester United once again. At €20 million, Telles represents great value and a player who improves the team immediately. With PSG in the market for a left-back following Juan Bernat’s cruciate ligament injury, if United don’t act quickly you can be sure that PSG will step in and pay the asking price without question to get the deal done quickly. It’s very possible (and my belief) that this news has been leaked by Porto in order to trigger a bidding war between clubs and they’re just using Manchester United’s name in the press. If genuine though, United at least seem to have the right idea about which positions need strengthening and the profile they’re looking at is encouraging.
That alone isn’t enough though. Manchester United need to pull the trigger and actually conclude these signings. It’s pointless agreeing terms with a player when you won’t pay the fee to get the deal over the line.