Sport Why are Manchester United are after Porto defender Alex Telles?
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Manchester United are desperate to bring in a new left back and are understood to have made Porto defender Alex Telles their priority signing.
The Red Devils have been looking to bolster their backline all window and were keen on bringing in Real Madrid left back Sergio Reguilon to Old Trafford just before he signed for Spurs.
Sportsmail understands United failed in a deal for Reguilon as they were not prepared to accept a buy-back clause in the Spaniard's contract and have moved on to their next target Telles, who is valued at around £17million.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are looking to bring the Porto man into the club but no agreement is in place with the Portuguese champions over a deal for the 27-year-old.
With negotiations still taking place, Sportsmail analyses Manchester United's latest transfer target after a difficult summer in the window...
Who is Alex Telles?
The Brazilian has been at Porto since 2016 and is closing in on 200 appearances in all competitions for the Portuguese giants.
The left back began his career at Brazilian side Juventude and moved to top-flight side Gremio in 2013 after just one season in professional football. Twelve months later, he was snapped up by his first European team, Galatasaray, and spent two seasons in Turkey – winning the league and cup double in 2015.
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Manchester United have set their sights on Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico as a possible alternative to Alex Telles. The Red Devils want to add a new left-back and offer competition to Luke Shaw. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed out on Sergio Reguilon after Tottenham agreed to a buy-back clause with Real Madrid. © Provided by Daily Mail Manchester United have set their sights on Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico (above) Manchester United switched their attention to Brazilian Telles, 27, who is into the final year of his contract at Porto.
In the 2015-16 season, he joined Serie A giants Inter Milan on loan and played 21 times as the Nerazurri finished fourth and qualified for the Europa League.
The following year he moved to current side Porto for £5million, helping them win two league titles including the 2019-20 edition earlier this year.
Telles was eligible to represent both Brazil and Italy at international level and was open to playing for the Azzurri earlier on in his career. However, his form at Porto led him to a first Brazil call-up in 2019 – his only appearance for El Selecao came in a 2019 friendly win over Panama.
Why do Manchester United want him?
Telles is an all-action defender capable of affecting matters at both ends of the pitch.
Manchester United locked in negotiations with Porto over Alex Telles
The 27-year-old is out of contract next summer and the clubs remain apart in valuation. United are awaiting a revised bid from Roma for defender Chris Smalling who has made it clear he wishes to leave. United rejected the last offer of around £12m. The Old Trafford club are also struggling to find buyers for Diogo Dalot, Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo, Andreas Pereira and Phil Jones with few firm offers and the club's asking price for each understood to be an obstacle for suitors.
His biggest quality is his finishing in the final third. The 27-year-old scored 11 goals in Porto's title-winning campaign from left back last season, registering eight assists in the process.
He has started the 2020-21 season in goalscoring fashion as he netted two penalties in Porto's 3-1 comeback win over Braga over the weekend.
The full-back is also very comfortable on the ball and had a passing success rate of 80.5 per cent in the Portuguese top-flight last term.
Telles is also solid defensively, and was part of a Porto side who kept 20 clean sheets in 34 league matches last season – so Manchester United will have a very complete defender on their hands should he move to Old Trafford.
How does he compare to United's current left backs?
Given his goalscoring record, Alex Telles largely has better attacking statistics than United's current left back options Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams.
The Porto left back attempts considerably more shots per match than either Shaw or Williams while Telles also creates more chances than the United pair.
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The 27-year-old is also better at defensive interceptions than both Shaw and Williams and also averages a great deal more crosses per match than the Englishmen.
An area where Telles can improve is his tackling, with his success rate significantly lower than Shaw and Williams' figures – though that could be down to the fact Porto had a better domestic season than Manchester United and were not as defensively challenged.
His dribbling is surprisingly poor too given his effectiveness in attack. Telles completed only 58 per cent of his dribbles last season while Williams and Shaw managed to reach 70 and 68 per cent respectively.
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