With Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo thought to be facing the Manchester United exit door under new boss Jose Mourinho, recruiting new centre-halves ought to be the struggling north west giants’ top priority.
The Mirror believes Mourinho will move for an experienced, big-money back, with Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci tipped for a £50m switch, but a few of the men below could save United a quid or two.
Bonucci’s club-and-country teammate is perhaps the closest thing to Marco Materazzi Mourinho could get, though five years younger than the former Italy international was when coming off the bench to help the Portuguese secure Champions League glory for Inter in 2010.
Chiellini showed what a class act he remains with near-faultless displays for the Azzurri at Euro 2016.
It would be tough to convince the 6ft2in aerial maestro to end his 11-season stay with the Old Lady, but worth a try.
Admittedly a long shot at 35-years-old, yet Laurent Blanc rocked up at Old Trafford midway through his third decade, and Mourinho’s willingness to embrace veteran centre-halves such as Materazzi and Ricardo Carvalho in recent times suggests the new Old Trafford chief doesn’t do ageism.
Besides, Luisao looked extremely sprightly two-and-a-half years ago during Benfica’s Europa League last-16 downing of Spurs, scoring twice in a 3-1 first-leg away win, so as long as Chris Smalling is prepared to do all the former Brazil international’s running, it could work.
An obvious choice having worked under Mourinho at Real Madrid, and feted as one of the world’s best in the position following a series of stellar displays for Portugal at Euro 2016.
Pepe’s mastery of the defensive dark arts would make him the player other Premier League fans love to hate, but such an honour hardly affected former United captain and centre-half rock Nemanja Vidic.
After four cracking seasons under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, taking in La Liga, Europa League and Copa del Rey success, plus Champions League final failure, this sometime Brazil captain made his way to Inter 12 months ago for a fee thought to be around €11m.
Miranda started 31 Serie A matches under Roberto Mancini last term as the Nerazzurri posted a respectable fourth-place finish, yet failed to secure Champions League football for 2016/17.
That may make convincing the 31-year-old to swap Milan for a last hurrah in Manchester a mite easier.
With Mario Gotze back at Borussia Dortmund and United in the market for erstwhile Red Devil Paul Pogba, the return of Pique to Old Trafford would come as no surprise this summer – indeed, the odd rumour has already made its way round the mill.
That being said, the ‘cultured’ 29-year-old is probably not the right fit for the rock-solid defences Mourinho tends to build.
Manchester United are 7/2 with bwin to win their first Premier League title under anyone but Sir Alex Ferguson next season.