Jose Mourinho has identified four targets for the January transfer window but faces a fight to persuade the Manchester United board to stump up the cash.
The Portuguese boss wants Serbian duo Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Nikola Milenkovic along with Croatian pair Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic, who he had targeted back in the summer.
Mourinho is a keen admirer of both Perisic and Rebic, and is a fan of the pair’s ability to bully defenders, but would need those who hold the purse strings at United to relent in order to push through any deal.
Instead, his main concern is adding reinforcements in defence, as well as in the midfield of the park.
There are question marks over the future of several United players, with Sportsmail revealing earlier this month that as many as 10 players could be set to leave in the summer.
And Fiorentina defender Milenkovic and Lazio midfielder Milinkovic-Savic are both high on the list to lead an overhaul in personnel.
Mourinho watched Serbia’s victory over Montenegro in the Nations League last Thursday along with his friend Predrag Mijatovic, a game which involved both midfielder Milinkovic-Savic and centre back Milenkovic.
As the Old Trafford boss has made clear since the summer, his priority is for a centre back.
He has made his unhappiness with his current stock of defenders clear — removing Eric Bailly after just 18 minutes of their comeback victory against Newcastle last weekend.
There are also question marks over Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof, while Phil Jones could also be shown the exit door at United.
Mourinho wants a nasty, commanding centre half who can bring ball out of defence, and believes Milenkovic could fit that description.