Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd to fund electrifying striker move with triple sale of £150m stars

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Antony, Man Utd

Antony may be sold by Man Utd this summer

Manchester United are weighing up an incredible move for Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins and could sell three players – including Antony – to fund a bid, it has been claimed.

Man Utd revamped their centre-forward options last summer by signing Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta. The Dane, who had only made 32 Serie A appearances for Atalanta before his transfer, cost Man Utd an initial £64million. The deal could rise to £72m depending on add-ons.

Hojlund has so far managed 14 goals in 40 matches for Man Utd, which includes eight strikes in 28 Premier League outings.

Hojlund has done well considering his age and lack of senior experience, while he went on a brilliant scoring run between December and February. However, it is clear that he needs some help as otherwise Man Utd will be harming the 21-year-old’s development.

Man Utd have been linked with several strikers in recent months, including Brentford ace Ivan Toney, Benjamin Sesko of RB Leipzig and Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy.

But according to talkSPORT, Red Devils chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe is debating going in a very different direction by raiding Aston Villa for Watkins.

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Ratcliffe and Man Utd are ‘considering an audacious swoop’ to take Watkins out of Villa Park.

Watkins fits the profile of player Ratcliffe wants to bring in this summer, with the INEOS owner aiming to establish a strong British core.

Man Utd transfers: Shock Ollie Watkins bid coming?

Watkins might be 28 years old, but he still has several seasons left at the top level.

It is no surprise that Man Utd scouts have been impressed by the England star, as he has registered 27 goals and 13 assists in 52 matches for Villa this term.

Unai Emery has helped Watkins take his game to the next level and the attacker is now joint-fourth in the Premier League scoring charts, behind only Erling Haaland, Cole Palmer and Alexander Isak.

However, Watkins will not come cheap as Villa are determined to keep hold of their star man. In order to fund a move for the 11-cap international, Man Utd will need to sell three unwanted players.

The first is right winger Antony, who has been a major flop since arriving at Old Trafford for over £80m in August 2022.

But Man Utd will have to take a big financial hit when the Brazilian leaves, as he has garnered no interest up to now.

Christian Eriksen, Casemiro up for sale

Second on Ratcliffe’s list of potential departures is Christian Eriksen, who has struggled for game time in the second half of the campaign.

With Eriksen’s contract expiring in June 2025, Man Utd must sell this summer in order to make any decent money on him.

The 32-year-old has been tipped to go back to Brentford, while a switch to Turkey has also become a possibility.

Any fee Man Utd pick up for Eriksen will be small, but it will go down as profit as they captured him on a free transfer two years ago.

The third player Man Utd are keen to sell is fellow midfielder Casemiro, whose form has gone from bad to worse lately.

As with Antony, Man Utd spent huge sums on Casemiro – potentially as much as £70m – but his value has since nosedived.

Earlier on Wednesday, it emerged that major Saudi clubs Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal have ended their interest in the former Real Madrid enforcer. Instead, Casemiro is more likely to join either Al-Ahli and Al-Qadisiyah in the Middle Eastern country.

The Saudis could once again come to Man Utd’s rescue by paying as much as £34m for Casemiro, far more than what clubs in Europe would offer.

Such a fee would give Man Utd a significant boost as they try to meet Villa’s asking price for Watkins.

Even if Man Utd manage to strike an agreement for Watkins, it would be a surprise if the striker decided he wanted to head to Old Trafford. After all, while Villa have done brilliantly to get back into the Champions League, Man Utd are at risk of missing out on European qualification altogether.

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