Manchester United’s summer transfer targets have been revealed in an article by The Athletic.
Reporter Laurie Whitwell claims that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s priorities are Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Red Bull Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, with Bournemouth’s David Brooks seen as an alternative to the latter.
If Whitwell is correct, it is likely to be a long and frustrating summer for Manchester United fans as all four of these targets are going to prove extremely difficult to secure.
First, as reported here this morning, the Sancho deal looks dead in the water with Joel Glazer, whose family are controlling shareholders of United, refusing to sanction a €120 million deal and selling club Borussia Dortmund refusing to accept anything less.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, have reportedly slapped an £80 million price tag on Grealish, who helped them secure Premier League safety with a goal in their final match of the season and in so doing gave them some financial flexibility.
The fact is that Grealish is barely worth half of that amount and so is effectively ruled out by that extortionate asking price.
The same could be true of Brooks, who is reportedly being priced by Bournemouth at £40 million. This, too, is double the player’s market value according to Transfermarkt.com. As Whitwell says, Brooks is ‘further down United’s primary list and a proposed price of £40 million means there is no active situation.’
Frustratingly, Upamecano is probably now the hardest of the four to buy and yet could have been bought for £40 million this summer.
As reported by The Peoples Person at the time, it was known that the centre-back’s release clause of that amount was due to expire at the end of June.
United did not make a move at the time and the player has now signed a contract extension at Leipzig, strengthening the selling club’s hand considerably in terms of negotiating a transfer.
The player’s exploits in helping Red Bull to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League have increased his market value even further and now with the likes of Real Madrid joing the chase for his signature, the Upamecano ship has not well and truly sailed, but is now going to be extremely difficult to board.
Whitwell claims in his report that United’s Europa League exit might have a silver lining in that it will prevent the Glazer family from becoming complacent and help them to understand that investment is needed.
He points to the fact that ‘finishing runners-up under Jose Mourinho was followed by a summer recruitment of Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant,’ suggesting that the Glazers reduce the transfer budget when the team has been more successful.
It seems laughable that the club’s owners might be really so ignorant that they will only put their hand in their pocket if the team does not do as well as had been hoped.
The reporter also reveals that ‘those close to the club maintain that four new signings are required’ but that ‘one window is too tight a squeeze for the pedestrian machinations at United’.
This is undoubtedly true. With three weeks and two days to go until the start of the season and six and a half until the transfer window closes, coupled with Woodward’s self-confessed inability to cope with more than one transfer at a time, at this stage landing even one of these four targets seems far from certain.
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