Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ivan Toney speaks out as Man Utd transfer rumours escalate as Ratcliffe also learns price to sign young German talent

Ivan Toney and Max Beier are two striker targets for Manchester United

Ivan Toney and Max Beier are two striker targets for Manchester United

Manchester United are reported to have sounded out three strikers as they look to strengthen their attacking options this summer – and one of those in Ivan Toney has proclaimed himself “ready” for a move, while the fee needed to sign another has also become clear.

The Red Devils can finally begin their preparations for the summer window after confirmation arrived earlier this week that Erik ten Hag will be allowed to continue as manager and that negotiations over an extension to his contract would also shortly commence. And with ambitious British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe now having sporting control, a bright new era should await Manchester United.

Ratcliffe has wasted little time assembling a strong team behind the scenes he hopes will give them the very best chance possible, with Omar Berrada (CEO), Jean-Claude Blanc (director) and Jason Wilcox (technical director) already in position. However, their quest to bring in Dan Ashworth has suffered another blow after their final offer of £3m compensation to Newcastle United was rejected and amid claims the Magpies are holding out for £20m. As a result, it remains to be seen if and when that arrangement will go through.

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The failure to bring in Ashworth for now could ultimately see Ten Hag retain some control on the transer front, with the Dutchman having been strongly criticised in the past for the influence he has had over United’s recent dealings and the perceived mis-management of money.

However, he will likely now retain a strong say going forwards and a report on Thursday morning claims he has made clear to Ratcliffe the three signings the club needs to make this summer as a non-negotiable this summer.

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The most obvious area for improvement for United this summer is in attack, with the Red Devils’ forward line looking surprisingly blunt on too many occasions this season.

Indeed, United scored a measly 57 goals in 38 Premier League goals which was 39 less than the league’s top scorers Manchester City and only five more than Luton Town, who were relegated from the top flight.

And while Rasmus Hojlund showed promise in flashes, eventually scoring 16 goals in 43 appearances over the season, he lacked much in the way of cover and competition, with Anthony Martial not featuring in a game since December and United having to play with Bruno Fernandes in a false nine on occasions.

With Martial now departing at the end of his contract, United have an obvious need to sign a new No 9 and it was reported earlier this week they had made an enquiry with the agent of Joshua Zirkzee over a potential deal.

But United also have other irons in the fire, one of which is reportedly Toney and the England man has released an interview to talkSPORT admitting he is ready to take his career to the next step amid claims United are ready to make their move.

“I’m a Brentford player,” Toney said. “I have a year left. Going into a major tournament, that is my main focus now. But after this, I’ll be going back to Brentford and I will be a Brentford player still.

“It’s nice to be linked with other clubs. But I’ve had this in the past. Nothing is done until it’s done.

“Like I said, I’m a Brentford player and I’m focused on doing well for Brentford for the upcoming season. That’s the main thing.”

Man Utd transfers: Ten Hag learn price needed for German sensation

Asked if he feels ready for a big move, Toney added: “Obviously, if it was to come, I would be ready.

“But I’ve got to remained focused and not let other things and other noise get the best of me and just focus on what I need to do for my club.”

Another attacker on United’s radar is Germany forward Max Beier, who has enjoyed another strong season for Hoffenheim.

Helping his side to a top-seven finish, Beier scored 16 goals and added three assists from 29 starts for his side, who like United, have qualified for next season’s Europa League.

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His form has attracted plenty of attention with Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen among his admirers.

However, there is interest from the Premier League too, with Jurgen Klopp, while Liverpool manager, also among those keen and with the Merseysiders believed to have retained an interest in the 21-year-old after his countryman’s departure at Anfield.

Brentford – potentially seeking a replacement for Toney – and Nottingham Forest are also credited with an interest.

But according to reports in Germany, it is United who have made the first move, having made an enquiry for Beier’s services with Hoffenheim.

However, the Bundesliga club are seemingly not willing to let him leave on the cheap and have quoted the Red Devils his full release clause, which currently sits at €32.5m (£27.4m).

That clause reduces by €2.5m a season, though the belief in Germany is that Beier will be on the move this season, though it seems debatable if United will want to solely rely on both Beier and Hojlund, with Ten Hag likely to want a more experienced name to provide cover and competition for the young Dane.