Manchester United are ‘whittling down’ centre-back and midfield options ahead of the summer…
MAN UTD TO PIP PEP
Manchester United are keen to exploit Ronald Aruajo’s contract stand-off at Barcelona and are ready to make a ‘large investment’ in the 22-year-old.
That’s according to Marca, who claim the Red Devils are prepared to ‘push hardest’ to secure the centre-back’s signature.
Barcelona have reportedly been seeking to tie the defender down to a new deal since March 2020, with their effort so far in vain. He has just entered the final 18 months of his contract at the Nou Camp.
That’s led Pep Guardiola on a schmoozing mission, with the Man City boss spotted dining with the player’s agent, Edmundo Kabchi.
The Uruguayan centre-back has started 11 of Barca’s La Liga games this term having broken into the first team last season.
PRICE IS RIGHT FOR DE LIGT
Should battling Manchester City not appeal, they could instead challenge Bayern Munich and Barcelona for a Juventus star.
Matthijs de Ligt will ‘be available to be brought from the Turin club in the summer if the price is correct’, according to Calciomercato.
De Ligt, like a host of his Ajax teammates, left the Eredivisie club for sunnier climbs after their oustanding Champions League campaign that saw them knocked out at the semi final stage in 2019.
He’s made 98 appearances for Juventus since, scoring six goals from centre-back.
But United will face competition from Bayern, who are looking for a replacement for Niklas Sule, who’s out of contract in the summer.
And from Barcelona, who apparently deem Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, and newly acquired Eric Garcia, as ‘not good enough for Barcelona to compete at the elite level’.
MIDFIELD OVERHAUL AND THE MAN UTD VETO
As well as a shiny new centre-back, United are also planning a summer ‘overhaul’ of their midfield.
Work on breaking the McFred axis will start before United appoint a permanent boss, according to ESPN.
The recruitment team are said to be busy ‘whittling down’ a shortlist of potential candidates, which includes Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara.
But there’s said to be plenty of whittling to do. ‘United will narrow their list of midfield targets to around 15 before cutting the names to around 10’.
And negotiations with players, representatives and clubs will take place when they have three names remaining.
‘Detailed recruitment meetings’ will be held each month with interim manager Ralf Rangnick, but the aim is for the new permanent boss to be all but secured before the end of the season, so they can ‘veto new signings’ should they wish.
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