Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is thought to be desperate to provide club captain Harry Maguire with a long-term central defensive partner after the performances of both Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly this season left a lot to be desired.
Manchester United finished second in the Premier League in fairly comfortable fashion last season, but their wait for a trophy now dates back to May 2017 when Jose Mourinho guided them to Europa League glory.
Ironically, it was the Europa League that ended United's season on a sour note, with Solskjaer's side losing in the final on penalties to La Liga outfit Villarreal.
As the club prepare plans for next season and how a serious title tilt can be mounted, Solksjaer is under no illusion that central defence is an area that is in dire need of strengthening.
While Maguire has enjoyed an impressive season individually, his recent spell on the sidelines with injury has exposed how fragile United appear to be in his absence.
The Old Trafford faithful will be intrigued by the comments of one of their main targets in Pau Torres, who had this to say on recent speculation: "Those rumours mean that you’re doing a good job. I’m calm. Those rumours came out a while ago and I don’t think my performance has changed, it’s been good."
With that being said, here are six central defenders that United are rumoured to be eyeing up a summer move for.
The Villarreal centre-back has a number of admirers across Europe, with both Real Madrid and Barcelona as well as United all reportedly keen on securing his services.
Making 33 La Liga appearances this season, Torres notched 10 clean sheets but it is his ability to play out from the back that has made him so highly sought after.
Villarreal president Fernando Roig has conceded he is willing to let the player depart, but only if his next side puts up the cash to activate his release clause.
He told El Transistor : "If they arrive with the money and the player wants to move, but there must be an agreement between all three parties."
The Real Madrid star has been a regular at the Santiago Bernabeu for the last decade, but his time at Los Blancos could be coming to an end.
Varane's chances of joining Man United could have been boosted by the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as the new Madrid manager given the defender's comments on what life was luck under the Italian boss during his first time at the helm.
Varane said: "Since he left, I've improved. I could have perhaps played more under him if I could have shown him he could count on me in difficult times.
"There was less turnover and you really needed to bring the house down to have any chance of playing again. I wasn't able to do that."
The Frenchman's career at Barcelona has stagnated massively, starved of minutes and sitting some way down the central defensive pecking order.
United were originally linked with a move for Umtiti at the beginning of last season, but a move failed to materialise and the Red Devils opted against signing any centre-back.
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Despite rarely featuring for the Catalan giants, anyone who wants to pry Umtiti away from the Camp Nou in the summer will have to activate his £43m release clause.
Umtiti's current contract does not expire until 2023, but Barcelona would be keen on shifting him on as a means of raising funds while United will benefit by boasting a player of the Frenchmen's experience within their ranks.
Still revelling in the joy of his recent England call-up, Ben White could ply his trade at Old Trafford next season if Harry Maguire gets his way.
The Brighton star first garnered attention after a stunning stint on loan at Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds while they were in the Championship, he has proven he can cut it at the highest level for Graham Potter's side.
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After White made his first England appearance in the recent warm-up game against Austria, the The Transfer Window podcast reported that Maguire has informed Solskjaer that the Brighton man is the sort of player he wants to play alongside.
Maguire is said to think that White will complement his game as well as being a fan of the fact he is English speaking.
Another La Liga star, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde has long been an impressive and integral part of a side that actually knocked Manchester United out of the 2019/20 Europa League.
Originally signed from Bordeaux in 2019, Kounde has been linked with a number of European football's biggest clubs.
United have reportedly balked at Sevilla's asking price of £60m when they have approached previously, but as the coronavirus has drastically impacted the finances of many clubs across the continent, the Spanish side may ask for less should United enquire again.
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The United faithful will have been delighted by Kounde's recent comments surrounding his future, claiming: "Regarding my future, it is certain that I will perhaps have to change clubs this summer, but nothing has been finalised yet, I have not decided anything.
"My goal is to play in a big club to try to always progress and to win trophies. I might have to move, but that’s not relevant today."
Though Braga fell some way short of a title race this season, finishing fourth, centre-back David Carmo has captured the attention of a number of big clubs.
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At just 21 years of age, Carmo is similar to Torres in his ability on the ball is what makes him stand out from the rest of the defenders in Portugal.
However, any chance of a big-money move this summer may have been scuppered by the fact he endured a horrific leg break in February.
The incident was so bad Carmo left the field of play in an Ambulance and is staring down the barrel of a lengthy road to recovery.
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