Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal could turn to a former Chelsea and Arsenal star in order to add experience to his side’s ailing defence.
The Red Devils manager is reportedly monitoring Ashley Cole’s situation at Roma with a view to offering the former England left back a route back to the Premier League.
The Dutchman has been forced to tinker with his defence on a regular basis this year and while Luke Shaw has started to show hints of the why he was signed for £27m from Southampton, Van Gaal is said to be keen to bring in competition for the 19-year-old.
Cole, 33, left Stamford Bridge for the Stadio Olympico last summer, but reports in Italy suggest all is not well in the capital and the player could leave as soon as January.
It is suggested that Roma boss Rudi Garcia is yet to be convinced that Cole is capable of fitting into the high-intensity style of play he is looking to impose on the club.
The highly-decorated left back is the latest in a long line of defenders linked with moves to Old Trafford in the coming months.
Mats Hummels, Ron Vlaar and Ryan Shawcross are some of the more established names said to be on United’s shortlist, while cheaper alternatives, such as Feyenoord’s Terence Kongolo, have also been mooted in the last few days.
United gave their top four aspirations – currently priced at 4/6 – a shot in the arm with the recent 1-1 draw with unbeaten league leaders Chelsea, but after dropping points against Burnley, Leicester and Swansea – among others – Van Gaal faces an uphill battle to ensure a return to the Champions League.
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