Man Utd prefer deal for Kalidou Koulibaly over Ruben Dias as Man City line up January deal | Football | Sport

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Manchester United would rather sign Kalidou Koulibaly than Ruben Dias as they look to find Harry Maguire a top-level partner.

United made Maguire the most expensive defender in the world in August after forking out £80million to sign him from Leicester.

The England centre-back has settled in well at Old Trafford but has not made a revolutionary impact on the defence.

Maguire has mostly played alongside Victor Lindelof, with whom he was hoped to build a strong partnership.

Lindelof was handed a contract extension this season but there remain doubts as to whether he is the right kind of defender to gel well with Maguire.

As a result, United have begun looking for alternative centre-half options and have identified two top targets in European football: Napoli’s Kouliably and Benfica’s Ruben Dias.

Koulibaly has been of interest to United for a while with his commanding presence and calmness on the ball evident in Champions League performances for Napoli.

Dias, meanwhile, is seen as one of the best emerging centre-backs in Europe and Portugal press claim United scouts have been watching the 22-year-old closely.

According to Mirror Sport, Koulibaly, 28, remains the top centre-back target.

The Senegal international is valued at around £90-100million making him the more expensive option but he is seemingly the finished article.

Dias is set to see his release clause rise from £59m to £79m soon as Benfica fear losing the player, with the club also planning to make him captain.

Manchester City are planning a January swoop for Dias, whose contract expires in 2024 after their disappointing start to the season.

City baulked at the £80m Leicester demanded for Maguire in the summer after allowing Vincent Kompany to leave.

Their failure to replace the former club captain has left Pep Guardiola short of centre-backs, which has been exacerbated by recent injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

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