Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Dan Ashworth told he’s made an error as Man Utd near first summer signing

Man Utd are close to signing Matthijs de Ligt

Man Utd are close to signing Matthijs de Ligt

Manchester United have finally appointed Dan Ashworth as their new sporting director and the first signing of the ex-Newcastle man’s tenure is close.

The Red Devils have long been chasing a new centre-back and after being priced out of a deal for Jarrad Branthwaite, turned their attention to Bayern Munich star Matthijs de Ligt.

Reports suggest that Man Utd are close to finalising the £50m signing of the Dutch international despite Bayern fans starting a petition in protest against his sale.

TEAMtalk understands that Sir Jim Ratcliffe had given a £50m budget for a new centre-back so Ashworth has used up his budget by bringing in De Ligt.

Sources have told our transfer correspondent Fraser (Fletcher) Gillan that the defender rejected a move to Paris Saint-Germain because he wants to play under Erik ten Hag, who was his boss at former club Ajax.

However, Man Utd legend Teddy Sheringham doesn’t believe De Ligt is the right man to bolster Ten Hag’s back line, suggesting Ashworth should have signed someone with experience in England.

“I think United need some experience in their back line, ideally someone with Premier League experience,” Sheringham said about Man Utd’s move for De Ligt.

“He’s obviously a very good player and we all remember him from his time at Ajax, but I don’t think he should be the number one priority at the moment for the club.”

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De Ligt keen on Ten Hag reunion

De Ligt, 24, was considered one of the best young players in Europe when he captained the Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-final in 2019.

He fell down the pecking order at Bayern under Thomas Tuchel, though, with the former Chelsea boss opting to start Eric Dier ahead of him on multiple occassions last term.

TEAMtalk sources say De Ligt is confident he can get back to his best under Ten Hag and help the Red Devils rise up the Premier League table again.

Barring a major twist, he will be the replacement for Raphael Varane, who officially departed Old Trafford as a free agent last week.

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However, if Man Utd lose another centre-back this summer amid uncertainty surrounding the futures of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, they could look to bring in another new defender.

As we exclusively revealed on Wednesday, the Red Devils are ready to listen to offers for Maguire. He has just 12 months remaining on his contract and £35m would be enough to sign him this summer.

West Ham are long-term admirers of Maguire but they are prioritising a move for Wolves centre-back Max Kilman, so it will be interesting to see if another club take a punt on the 31-year-old.