Man Utd Scouts to Watch Anderlecht Star as Search for Defensive Midfielder Steps Up
Manchester United are expected to send scouts to Belgium this evening to take a closer look at Anderlecht talent Leander Dendoncker as the search for defensive midfield reinforcements continue after failing to land other targets.
United have been told in no uncertain terms that by Tottenham that Eric Dier is not for sale, while negotiating a reasonable deal with Chelsea for Nemanja Matic has proven impossible after the bad blood that erupted from the Romelu Lukaku saga.
Even rumoured interest in Monaco's Fabinho appears to have completely cooled.
As such, the Manchester Evening News cites a report in Belgium to suggest that a United scouting presence will be in attendance for Dendoncker when Anderlecht kick off the defence of their Belgian title with a game away at Antwerp on Friday night.
A fee of around £33m appears to be Anderlecht's initial asking price at this stage.
United have of course already seen the 22-year-old at close quarters after meeting Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter finals last season. And although naturally a more defensive minded player it was actually Dendoncker who scored Anderlehct's late equaliser in the first leg.
As well as a winger - the Ivan Perisic chase is not over - Jose Mourinho remains keen on finding a defensive midfielder before the summer transfer window closes at the end of next month.
It is hoped that a more natural shield will give Paul Pogba the freedom to exert greater control over games in all areas of the pitch, while it will allow Ander Herrera to be more of a box-to-box player after he was often left to sit deep in the closing stages of last season.
Dendoncker, the kind of physically imposing player that characterises Mourinho teams, is a product of the same Anderlecht academy that produced United striker Romelu Lukaku and Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans. He has been a first-team regular at Anderlecht since 2014 and made his senior international debut for Belgium in 2015.