Jose Mourinho and Diego Simeone oversaw some of La Liga’s most exciting battles at the helm of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, but the pair may be set for their biggest tussle yet – with 21-year-old defender Jose Gimenez the prize.
The Uruguayan centre-back caught the eye with a pair of superb performances as Atleti overcame Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals last season. But his impressive displays date back a good deal further.
Another impressive product of the youth setup at homeland heavyweights Danubio – the club who developed Diego Forlan – Gimenez made the switch to Spain back in 2013, and quickly gained a reputation as a talented, robust and pacy centre-half.
And despite his age, the Colchoneros star has proved himself a real big-game player – something Man United have arguably lacked since Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit.
Indeed, Gimenez’s technical ability and intelligent reading of the game saw him impress in Uruguay’s World Cup 2014 campaign at the tender age of 19.
So, with all those attributes – would Simeone really be willing to sell?
Well, the fact United are reportedly ready to part with £50m for a player who cost the Spanish giants £765k back in 2013 would make this a terrific bit of business for a club who haven’t struggled to replace previous big names they’ve sold on.
Diego Costa, Jackson Martinez and Arda Turan have all left for a combined total of £97m, and have all been suitably replaced by – comparatively – inexpensive new arrivals.
Gimenez’s injury woes could also convince Simeone to cash in, with the Uruguayan already suffering two different month-long absences from injury during 2016, first with an Achilles issue and then an abductor muscle tear.
So, will United get their man in Jan? And if so – will he be the defensive saviour for the side who shipped four at Stamford Bridge last month, or another expensive and injury-hit panic buy?
For now, it’s the Red Devils’ current backline who must try and ensure a clean sheet and victory at Fenerbahce tomorrow night.
The most optimistic among the Old Trafford faithful can also back a repeat of the 4-1 victory in the home meeting with The Yellow Canaries at 40/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing