The Corriere dello Sport claims Manchester United’s new defender will be Philippe Mexes of Milan.
Louis van Gaal made it clear he requires reinforcements at the back and in midfield after a shock 2-1 home Premier League defeat to Swansea City.
The main target is Roma centre-back Mehdi Benatia, but Bayern Munich are widely reported to have leapt into the lead for the €30m-rated Morocco international.
Instead, the Corriere dello Sport today insists Manchester United are eyeing up a cheaper and considerably easier to get option in Mexes.
Already 32, the Frenchman has been in Serie A for 10 years between Roma and Milan.
He is on the final year of his contract and the Rossoneri would be prepared to let him go for a nominal fee.
Last season Mexes scored two goals in 31 games between Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia, but also received two red cards and 11 yellows.