Mourinho rivals Man Utd with Roma in race for £45m defensive target

Jose Mourinho has instructed his new club Roma to rival one of his former employers, Manchester United, in the race for Ben White, according to reports.

Mourinho wasn’t out of work for long after being sacked by Tottenham. Last week, it was revealed that he would take charge of Roma from next season. It will mark a return to Italian football for the trophy-laden tactician. But he will have to bolster his new squad if he is to win silverware there.

To do so, he has been looking towards several targets in the Premier League. For example, he has been linked with some of his former players from Man Utd, Tottenham and Chelsea.

But he is also aware of players from other clubs in the division. One of those is Brighton defender White, who according to The Sun is now a target for the Serie A side.

White has enjoyed a strong first full season in the Premier League on the south coast. His form has attracted a number of potential suitors. For example, Man Utd are looking for a centre-back partner for Harry Maguire and it is believed the captain would like to work with White.

Liverpool have also been tracking him for a long time, including when he was on loan at Leeds last season. Arsenal are another admirer of the 23-year-old.

But interest from the continent is growing as well. It recently emerged that Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund were keeping tabs on White. Now, Roma are in the running as well.

Such a deal would be difficult for them, as White could cost around £45m. Brighton know they can command a large price due to the amount of interest.

But Mourinho only took the Roma job knowing he would be backed in the transfer market. Therefore, he has told the club to consider a move for White.

Brighton remain eager to keep him, and have him under contract until 2024.

However, they had to fend off numerous bids from Leeds last summer and it seems they will be responding to multiple offers from elsewhere this year.

Mourinho ready to raid Man Utd

In addition to pursuing one of their targets, Mourinho could try to take someone who is already at Man Utd to the Italian capital.

One of Roma’s greatest needs is to take two new goalkeepers and they had ambitiously been linked with David De Gea. However, his wages are too costly for them.

But they could still try to sign a United star, presumably for the back-up role, as The Telegraph have linked them with Sergio Romero.

Romero grew unsettled at United last summer but failed to secure an exit. He is out of contract at the end of the season and will be moving on.

But it seems United have already settled on his replacement – and it’s a familiar face.

READ MOREDeal ‘close’ as Man Utd pounce for ‘reliable’ replacement for squad man