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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Report: Man United eyeing Simeone’s ‘competitive animal’ for just £8m despite ACL concern

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Last week, the New York Times declared England’s top flight ‘the world’s most global league’, watched by fans in nearly every country on planet earth and possessing an array of players from an array of backgrounds.

If Manchester United succeed in bringing in a man who has done plenty of globetrotting himself – plying his trade in Spain, France and Portugal – the Premier League will become that little bit more diverse.

We’ve had players from Benin, Oman, Tanzania and Estonia in England’s first division. Never before has the Premier League been host to a footballer from Mozambique, however.

That will change, however, if Man United snap up a highly-experienced left-back who could be available for just £8 million this summer, at 30 years of age and with just one year left on his contract.

  • READ MORE: Manchester United transfer history 2013 to present day

Reinildo Mandava of Atletico de Madrid reacts during the LaLiga EA Sports match between Atletico Madrid and Girona FC at Civitas Metropolitano Stad...

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Manchester United keen on Atletico Madrid ace

It is no secret that the left-back spot is one of a number of positions the Red Devils will look to strengthen during their first summer under Ineos control.

Tyrell Malacia has missed the entirety of the current campaign with injury, while Luke Shaw has been absent for the majority of it. Erik ten Hag, as if he didn’t have enough problems, has been forced to experiment with Diogo Dalot, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Sofyan Amrabat and Victor Lindelof on the left.

It is understood that Melvin Bard – a player known well to Ineos thanks to his time at OGC Nice – is an option under consideration. The Standard reports that Man United have held talks with the £13 million-rated Frenchman.

Another, even more low-cost option, could be Reinildo Mandava. The Sun reports that the Atletico Madrid stopper, who would become the first ever Mozambican to earn a living in the Premier League, has admirers at Old Trafford as well as at Villa Park.

  • READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano names the four positions he’s convinced Man Utd will sign players this summer

Reinildo is a left-back option for the Red Devils

Ineos, as explained by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, are prioritising youth and potential in the transfer market. They will not look to sign Kylian Mbappe, to quote the Failsworth-born billionare, but want to find the next one.

Reinildo, however, would represent a change of tack. Though, with Shaw expected to be United’s first-choice left-back again when back to full fitness, the 30-year-old former Lille and Benfica man may be worth breaking tradition for given the size of his price-tag and his array of experience.

A Ligue 1 champion back in 2021 and having spent three years under Diego Simeone, Reinildo knows what is required at the top level. His reported £8 million price-tag is also likely to appeal to a side with numerous signings to make on a rather restricted budget.

The biggest concern, however, is not his age but his injury history. Reinildo ruptured his ACL in February of last year. And, since his return, he has only played 12 La Liga matches. Given the injury issues Man United have had to contend with this season – particularly at left-back – one wonders if bringing Reinildo to Old Trafford would be like tempting fate.

Diego Simeone loves him

“He is a competitive animal,” Simeone said of Reinildo, not the most aesthetically-pleasing full-back but a fierce defender who loves to stick the boot in.

“The squad loves him very much and has shown what he can do; the duels, how difficult he is to beat. When he attacks by overlapping to the extreme, he does it well. He has strength and speed, just as he has when defending.

“We will continue to squeeze him so that he gives us even more things.”

Injury type Projected return
Willy Kambwala Unknown Unknown
Bruno Fernandes Hand v Palace
Scott McTominay Knee strain v Palace
Marcus Rashford Ankle May
Raphael Varane Muscular injury May
Jonny Evans Ongoing issue v Palace
Victor Lindelof Hamstring injury May
Lisandro Martinez Calf injury May
Luke Shaw Thigh injury May
Harry Maguire Muscle injury Late May
Anthony Martial Groin injury May
Tyrell Malacia Knee injury Unknown

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