London, Sep 6: Jose Mourinho's long-term quest to bring a new centre-half to Manchester United has reportedly led him to Atletico Madrid’s versatile defender Lucas Hernandez.
The French World Cup winner only signed a new long-term deal with the La Liga giants until 2024 this summer which has bumped the value of the versatile defender, who can also play left-back, up to £72m due to his new release clause.
But reports claim Hernandez’s hefty price tag has not put off cash-rich Manchester United, with Champions League holders Real Madrid also keen.
Mourinho was furious when executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward refused to cough up the funds to sign either Leicester City’s Harry Maguire or Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld during the transfer window.
However, the Red Devils’ mixed start to the new Premier League season means a January splurge on new recruits remains a real possibility.
The French World Cup winner appears to be happy with life at the Wanda Metropolitano but his head could be turned by a switch to either Old Trafford or the Bernabeu.
Hernandez said after committing his future to Diego Simeone’s side: “Atletico Madrid are the club of my life. They've given me everything and I'm very happy with my renewal because it was what I wanted most.
“They've always trusted me since I came into the youth team and gambled on me, I'm very grateful. For me, it's an honour to have been part of our academy and have made it to the first team, with the club gambling on me like that.
“I can't do anything else than thank them for their trust and pay them back on the pitch.”
Lucas Hernandez is just 22 years of age right now and has his peak years ahead of him. Plus, his versatility is another reason why he is wanted by two of the biggest clubs in Europe.