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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Manchester United identify key target in search for a new centre-back

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Football

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Manchester United are interested in Matthijs de Ligt as their summer search for central-defensive reinforcements continues.

The Bayern Munich defender played for Erik ten Hag at Ajax and was a stalwart of the side that reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.

United have admired De Ligt for years and he has emerged as an option this summer, though they are yet to submit an offer.

United need at least one and possibly two central defenders in the transfer window. They have released Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans’ contract has expired, though they are in talks with the 36-year-old about extending his stay, while Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof both have a solitary year left on their current deals.

Ivan Toney has also been linked with a summer move to Manchester United

Ivan Toney has also been linked with a summer move to Manchester United (The FA via Getty Images)

United have had a £35m bid for Jarrad Branthwaite rejected and are reluctant to return with an improved bid unless Everton drop their valuation of the England international, who they think is worth at least £70m.

De Ligt joined Juventus for €75m in 2019 and then Bayern for €67 two years ago. He spent some of last season on the bench but that was under former manager Thomas Tuchel, who has since been replaced by Vincent Kompany.

United are also looking for a central midfielder and a striker, to improve after finishing a disappointing eighth in the Premier League during the 2023-24 season.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Manuel Ugarte is a midfielder they like, after he joined the French champions from Sporting Lisbon last summer.

While in attack, they are considering Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee, Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Lille’s Jonathan David.

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