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Manchester United have reportedly added two young centre-backs to their list of defensive targets as they weigh up moves ahead of the January transfer window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have shipped 11 goals already in their three Premier League games so far this season – with only West Brom having conceded more.
United's defenders came under fire after they were hit for six in their last game against Tottenham, with Solskjaer still struggling to find the best centre-half partner for Harry Maguire.
Record rearguard signing Maguire has struggled to convince himself at times, and was sent off following some calamitous defending for England on Wednesday night.
And the Red Devils has not ruled out bringing in another central defender when the transfer window re-opens in January, according to ESPN.
The publication says United have added Jules Kounde and Pau Torres to their watchlist, with the defenders set to be monitored between now and the new year.
Sevilla defender Kounde, 21, was linked to Manchester City over the summer with Pep Guardiola also desperate to strengthen his defence.
However, City's scouts reportedly decided they had not seen enough of the France under-21 international, and Guardiola's side signed Ruben Dias from Benfica instead.
United are also looking at Villarreal centre-back Torres, who at 23 is two years' Kounde's senior.
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Kounde is valued at between £58m and £63m by Sevilla, while Pau could be a slightly cheaper option at around £45m.
But United would need to offload some of their current surplus of centre-backs in order to take them to Old Trafford.
Victor Lindelof and Bailly are currently battling to be Maguire's first-choice centre-half partner, while Solskjaer also wants to give Axel Tuanzebe chance to prove he is over his injury problems.
Recent academy graduate Teden Mengi is highly rated but is only 18 and will require plenty of time with the first team to be ready for the Premier League.
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Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have both been left out of United's Champions League squad and are surplus to requirements, while Chris Smalling was allowed to join Roma in a permanent deal earlier this month.
Bailly has picked up a slight knock while on international duty with Ivory Coast, but is expected to available for Saturday's trip to face Newcastle.
- Champions League
- Premier League
- Harry Maguire
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Pep Guardiola
- Manchester United FC
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