Southampton ready to beat Man Utd in race for Porto star

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Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman are set to go head-to-head in the transfer market as Manchester United and Southampton bid to sign Porto defender Bruno Martins Indi.

The Red Devils have been linked with a move for the Dutch international ever since Van Gaal, who coached the 22-year-old at the World Cup, moved to Old Trafford.

The Porto star left Feyenoord just last summer for a fee of €8m but is already being linked with a move away from De Kuip and with Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Daley Blind all out of action, United are desperate for defensive reinforcements.

Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett are LVG’s only fit options at centre-back and Martins Indi would be a welcome addition to his squad in January.

But Saints, who currently sit second in the Premier League and boast the meanest defence in the English top flight, are ready to make a formal bid for the former Feyenoord man and are quietly confident  of securing a deal.

And Koeman, who coached the centre-back during the pair’s time together at De Kuip, knows all about Martins Indi and believes he can strengthen a defence who have conceded just five goals in 11 games.

Koeman, who joined Southampton last summer, has overseen a huge turnaround at St. Mary’s with many expecting the club to struggle after the sales of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw.

But after his side’s impressive start to the season the Dutchman is now targeting a push for European qualification and wants to strengthen his squad during the winter transfer window.

The south coast club, who have also been linked with a move to Palermo star Paulo Dybala, are 19/10 to finish in the Top Four and with significant squad improvement in January it would be hard to back against them continuing their fine run of form.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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