MANCHESTER UNITED were keen on Manuel Akanji before the Swiss defender joined rivals Manchester City, according to reports.

The Red Devils were in the market for a central defender and eventually landed Lisandro Martinez of Ajax.


However, according to Fabrizio Romano, United were initially keen on then Borussia Dortmund defender Akanji but a move broke down following the departure of Ralf Rangnick, who was due to take up an advisory role in support of Erik ten Hag.

Following Rangnick's exit to become manager of the Austrian national team, United cooled their interest in the 27-year-old.

And Martinez was landed from Ajax instead in a big money transfer – a player Ten Hag knew well from his time in Holland.

Akanji was later snapped up by Premier League champions Man City in a £15million deal.

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He has made three starts for Pep Guardiola's side, with just one of those coming in the league.

Akanji has to compete with the likes of Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, John Stone and Nathan Ake for a starting spot.

However, the defender is keen to force his way into Pep's thoughts as a nailed on starter.

Akanji says he wants to make decisions "difficult" for his new boss.

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He told Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten: "We have a lot of good players. I know that it won’t be easy.

"I also don’t expect to play through every game for 90 minutes, but I want to make it as difficult as possible for the coach.”

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