Manchester United are preparing to overhaul their defence in the summer transfer window and Harry Maguire could be set for the exit door, while Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt has been identified as a top target.
The Red Devils find themselves languishing down in seventh place in the Premier League table after yet another disappointing start to a campaign which also saw them crash out of the Champions League at the group stage.
But the arrival of new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe – who watched United’s 2-2 draw with Spurs from the stands at Old Trafford – has brought a renewed sense of optimism amongst the fanbase after years of misery with the Glazers at the helm.
According to ESPN, discussions have taken place between United’s football director, John Murtough, and Erik ten Hag to pinpoint transfer priorities ahead of the summer window and the pair are keen to revamp the defence.
It’s claimed United are open to offers for England centre-back Maguire, the former club captain, despite his return to the fold in recent months. Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans also look set to depart the Theatre of Dreams.
Raphael Varane, meanwhile, could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season after United opted against activating a one-year extension in the Frenchman’s contract.
The report indicates that Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo are attracting strong interest from United, as well as Netherlands centre-half De Ligt – who came close to joining the Red Devils before he signed for Bayern Munich back in 2022.
Galatasaray right-back Sacha Boey has also been identified as a target by United’s hierarchy, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s future uncertain in Manchester.
Though it appears unlikely that United will bring in any high-profile additions this month, Ten Hag has hinted loan signings could be made before the January deadline.
‘You always have to consider such choices,’ the United head coach told reporters last week.
‘Two very good loans, [Marcel] Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst really contributed to our success last year.
‘When such opportunities come up, we have to take them. At the same time, you have to analyse what we have on board, what is coming up.’
The Dutchman added: ‘If you want to perform, you need hungry players.
‘We need personalities and players who are very hungry to fight for the badge and this club.
‘It is not about discipline, it is about normal behaviour. It is about what you can expect from a top professional.’
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