Manchester United appear unwilling to pay Leicester City the £85 million that they are demanding for centre-back Harry Maguire, and are considering Benoit Badiashile from Monaco if the deal falls through, according to L’Equipe.
The Red Devils have been pursuing the England star for much of the summer so far, but want to negotiate a figure closer to £75 million.
And if that proves impossible, they are ready to make alternative arrangements, with a move for Badiashile at €35 million (£31.4 million) rumoured to be under consideration by the United hierarchy.
The youngster is just 18 years of age and only made his Monaco debut in November last year, but established himself as a regular in the side as the season wore on.
Standing at just over six foot, four inches tall, Badiashile is already an imposing presence and his tender years mean he will likely have greater resale value for United than 26-year-old Maguire, if he continues to develop at his current rate.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to implement a style that encourages playing out from the back, and the France under-19 international fits the bill in that regard with his composure on the ball.
While he occasionally struggles with lapses in concentration, that is something that he will improve on with age and will presumably not deter potential suitors from pursuing a move.
United have struggled at the heart of their defence in recent years, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling failing to reach the potential they showed as youngsters and signings such as Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof flattering to deceive.
The well-publicised Maguire saga has alerted sides to the funds at the Old Trafford club’s disposal and arguably made it far more difficult for them from a negotiating standpoint.
It will be interesting to see whether United stump up the cash for the Leicester star, a proven Premier League performer, or take a chance on Badiashile, untried at the very top level but with huge scope for improvement in the coming seasons.