Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd: Ratcliffe’s dream Martial replacement snubs transfer as Fabregas claims second target is ‘off elsewhere’

Neither Matheus Cunha or Youssouf Fofana will be joining Manchester United this summer

Neither Matheus Cunha or Youssouf Fofana will be joining Manchester United this summer

Manchester United have already suffered a major double blow to their summer transfer plans after Matheus Cunha declined the chance to leave Wolves, while Cesc Fabregas revealed a second dream Sir Jim Ratcliffe signing was due to move elsewhere.

The Red Devils are preparing for a big summer rebuild both on and off the field after a somewhat topsy-turvy season. Manchester United may have produced an unexpected end to the campaign by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final, but they also endured their lowest-ever Premier League finish in eighth, while also suffering a record number of defeats  – 14 – in the competition.

Furthermore, their seismic failure in the Champions League saw the club finish bottom of a group containing FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray to leave United dumped out of European competition altogether.

Now minority shareholder Ratcliffe, given full sporting control of the club as part of his £1.3bn investment, is ready to get tough, having already made some tough decisions behind the scenes and assembling the strongest set of football experts out there, including Dan Ashworth as sporting director and Jason Wilcox as technical director.

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However, the biggest changes are set to come to the playing squad with Ratcliffe leaving no stone unturned in his quest to transform United back among the elite.

Prior to the season’s end, it was confirmed that £340,000 a week defender Raphael Varane would be leaving as a free agent at the end of his deal, with United declining the chance to take up the one-year option on his deal.

And then on Wednesday, United also confirmed their retained list with a triple exit revealed though one star set to be offered a new deal.

Man Utd transfers: Wolves star Cunha rejects move to Old Trafford

However, many other big names – with Casemiro seemingly top of the pile – are expected to depart over the course of the summer window.

In terms of recruitment, Ratcliffe has already drawn up a list of would-be new signings with TEAMtalk understanding the Red Devils chief, following discussions with Ashworth, wants to make at least four big-name signing to strengthen the spine of their side.

To that end, a new centre-half, midfielder, centre forward and right-sided attacker will be targeted.

One man who had been high on Ratcliffe’s wishlist was known to be Wolves forward Cunha, whom has been identified by the British billionaire as a ideal signing to be spearhead the new era at Old Trafford.

The 11-times capped Brazil international, however, speaking while back in his homeland for a summer break, is well aware of United’s interest but is fully determined to stay loyal to Wolves this summer.

While spotted at a Botafogo-PB in Serie C, Cunha told Globo: “Whenever I can, I come to follow you. I always want to demonstrate that (affection) is reciprocal.

“Then we see this rush (Manchester United). But I’m very happy at Wolves.

“My focus is on resting and making the most of it with my family. I’m very happy at Wolves.

“The focus now is to have better seasons and help the club.”

Stay confirms loyalty to Wolves

Cunha cost Wolves £43m from Atletico Madrid, his move confirmed on Christmas Day 2022. After a slow start, he has gone on to score 16 times in 43 games, and while not prolific, it is his all-round game that makes him so attractive to Ratcliffe.

Indeed, the United chief had earmarked Cunha as an ideal replacement for the departing Anthony Martial, who has left Old Trafford as a free agent, some nine years after his arrival as a teenager from Monaco.

And while they have reportedly offered to double his wages of £60,000 a week, Cunha appears determined not to force a move out of the Old Gold and has confirmed his loyalty to the club – even raising his child with a Black Country accent.

“What can I say to you about Wolverhampton? I was afraid to come to England, honestly,” he told the Express & Star.

“Germany was very good for me, I played very well there. But it was not the best relationship with the culture. The fans were amazing. But away from football the people were very far away from my culture.

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“It is a little bit cold. Maybe because the country is cold, the people are cold. Not bad people but cold. Brazilians are very emotional people who talk, who give hugs. I was afraid to come to England and have the same experience but I come here and it is completely different.

“The people are so good. Wolverhampton, it is a very small city. I come from Berlin to Madrid to Wolverhampton. It is crazy. But my son has started to learn up here, I love the school, he loves to be here. He has started to learn English with the accent.

“These things are more than football. It is how the people talk to me here. This is the city that has given me back the passion for football. Everything together shows me that I am in the right place.”

Man Utd midfield target heading elsewhere, claims Fabregas

Meanwhile, United are set to suffer a double snub with a top midfield target in Youssouf Fofana set to snub a move to Old Trafford and having seemingly agreed a move elsewhere.

The Monaco man has enjoyed a brilliant season and looks set for a starring role in France’s quest to win Euro 2024 this summer.

However, with the Ligue 1 side ready to let him move on, both United and Arsenal have been tipped to launch moves.

However, former Gunners star Fabregas has revealed he’s heard strong suggestions that the box-to-box midfielder is due to sign elsewhere.

“I know him, I played with him,” Fabregas said on the BBC’s Planet Premier League podcast when asked about Fofana and whether he could be heading to the Premier League.

“Funnily enough I never heard about Man Utd, I heard that he was going to AC Milan because [Paulo] Fonseca probably is going to go there from France and they know each other, so let’s see where he goes.

“But he’s a very dynamic and strong player, good on the ball, a modern type of player, aggressive, can jump, he’s box to box. I really like Fofana and I think he fits very well with the Premier League style.”

Fofana has been capped 18 times by France and had been seen as an ideal midfield foil for Kobbie Mainoo in the engine room next season.