Manchester United have been scouting RB Leipzig centre-back Castello Lukeba, according to Bild.
The German tabloid claims that Erik ten Hag’s side “wants” to buy the Frenchman who has been “shining” for his club in the Bundesliga this season.
Lukeba only made the move to Germany from Lyon in the summer, but he has helped Leipzig to a strong start to the campaign, racking up 16 appearances in all competitions.
The 20-year-old’s impressive form has also led to him getting his first cap for France last month, playing the last few minutes of the 4-1 friendly win over Scotland.
Lukeba won’t be available on the cheap
Leipzig spent €34m (£30m) to bring in the defender from Lyon in August, and it is believed that his former club also have a 20% sell-on clause.
That means that United will probably have to pay a premium if they want to secure Lukeba’s services in January or at the end of the season.
Are United considering other centre-halfs?
The Red Devils have made strengthening the backline the main priority when the transfer window reopens in the New Year and the club’s scouts have been travelling across Europe assessing potential targets.
In addition to Lukeba, United have been keeping tabs on Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo, Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba, Benfica’s Antonio Silva and Sporting Lisbon’s Goncalo Inacio.
According to reports in the Portuguese press, the club had observers in the stands to watch the latter two in the Lisbon derby last weekend.
None of the five are likely to be available for a low price. Todibo could be the most economical option. Back in the summer, there were reports that Nice may sell for between €40m (£35m) and €50m (£44m), although his excellent form this campaign may have pushed up his valuation. From the looks of things, though, it seems like Lukeba’s name has been added to the shortlist.