Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

£122m triple Ratcliffe swoop to turn Man Utd problem area into unstoppable force

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Man Utd target Jarrad Branthwaite

Sir Jim Ratcliffe will sign several new stars for Man Utd in the summer

Manchester United could sign as many as three new centre-backs this summer, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe reportedly aiming to completely transform the area.

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag currently has Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Jonny Evans, Victor Lindelof and Willy Kambwala as centre-backs in his squad. However, there look set to be big changes to the position ahead of next season.

Man Utd have so far been hesitant to activate the option in Varane’s contract, which would extend his spell at Old Trafford until June 2025. As such, the Frenchman is weighing up whether to leave Man Utd and has been approached by Saudi Pro League officials.

Maguire, meanwhile, has once again emerged as a target for West Ham United. It is unclear whether he would fit into Ratcliffe and INEOS’ exciting new project at Man Utd.

Evans has proved many of his doubters wrong this season, with Rio Ferdinand even labelling him the club’s ‘best defender’. But the former Leicester City man is now 36 years old and will surely consider retirement either this summer or next.

Martinez is arguably Man Utd’s most reliable centre-half when fit, though he has missed a large chunk of the campaign due to foot and knee issues.

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Ratcliffe knows that if Ten Hag is to get Man Utd challenging for Premier League titles again, there must be a strong defence for the club to build from.

As per the Daily Mail, the British billionaire has three hugely talented defenders on his shortlist. The first is Jarrad Branthwaite, who has shone for Everton this term and forced his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

Jarrad Branthwaite one of several Man Utd objectives

Branthwaite is only 21 years old, but he is already an assured defender who possesses a decent amount of top-level experience. He is left-footed, too, which means he could provide Ten Hag’s side with great balance when playing out from the back.

Everton know how good Branthwaite can become though and will not be selling on the cheap. Man Utd will have to pay at least £80m to forge an agreement with their Premier League competitors.

Another defender on Ratcliffe’s radar is Aaron Anselmino, the 18-year-old starlet who has broken through at Boca Juniors.

In March it was claimed that Man Utd officials have already made ‘contact’ as they try to win the race for Anselmino. Real Madrid and Everton have since joined the chase for the Argentine, though Ratcliffe wants to ensure he ends up signing for Man Utd.

Boca Juniors have tied Anselmino down to a long-term contract, but it includes a tempting release clause worth £17m.

The final centre-back Man Utd are looking at is Mikayil Faye, who is making a big impression in the Barcelona B team.

Faye is just 19 but is already a fully fledged Senegal international. His rapid rise has caught Man Utd’s attention, as they believe he could become one of the top centre-backs in Europe.

Barca have also been tipped to include the teenager in a player-plus-cash deal for midfield target Khephren Thuram, who currently represents Nice.

But if Barca opt to sell Faye in a straight transfer, then Man Utd will need to pay £25m to complete the deal.

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