Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd abort shock striker signing, as Ten Hag chases Tottenham target and Casemiro successor instead

RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, France and Nice centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo, Man Utd midfielder Casemiro

Manchester United are highly unlikely to follow through with a shock striker signing despite being given the greenlight, with Erik ten Hag instead chasing a £40m-rated Frenchman and a box-to-box midfielder, per reports.

The Independent brought news on Thursday of Man Utd being open to shifting three extremely high profile stars next month.

Raphael Varane, Casemiro and Jadon Sancho have all been told they can leave. Per the report, United will ‘listen to offers’ for all three as Ten Hag seeks to streamline his squad.

The Red Devils do not have a big budget to play with in January and player exits will help to bolster the kitty.

Furthermore, moving on colossal earners like the aforementioned trio will clear huge chunks off the wage bill.

One position Man Utd had been tipped to address in the winter window was centre-forward. Despite showing signs of promise and scoring five goals in the Champions League, Rasmus Hojlund is yet to break his duck in the Premier League.

Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg confirmed in late-November that Man Utd had made enquiries into former Chelsea frontman, Timo Werner.

The 27-year-old plies his trade for RB Leipzig, though has tumbled down the pecking order this season. Indeed, the 57-cap German has been restricted to just 370 minutes of action across all competitions.

Real Madrid have also shown interest in what would likely be a six-month loan to see out the 2023/24 season. However, Plettenberg described a move to Real as “not hot”, thus opening the door for United.

Furthermore, Sky Germany’s Phillip Hinze revealed on Thursday that Leipzig are ‘ready to discuss offers in the winter if Werner wants’.

Leipzig manager Marco Rose has also hinted Werner is free to leave if he so desires.

“In the end, the performance principle counts,” said Rose (as quoted by Hinze). “Each player must accept this competition for operational periods.

“Now it’s about deciding: Do I accept my situation and fight? Or am I changing [clubs]?”

Man Utd pull plug on Werner

But according to German outlet BILD, Man Utd are highly unlikely to pull the trigger and launch a move for Werner.

Leipzig director Rouven Schroder has reportedly informed Werner he can leave via the loan route in January.

But despite the move being there for the making and its relatively risk-free nature, Man Utd are deemed unlikely to act on their initial interest.

Real Madrid too are hesitant to strike, thus leaving Werner facing up to warming the bench in Leipzig for the rest of the season unless new interest forms.

Regarding who Man Utd WILL sign, The Independent claimed a centre-back and central midfielder are taking priority at Old Trafford.

£40m Tottenham target wanted; Casemiro to be replaced

Incoming part-owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is not expected to have a major say on Man Utd’s winter window due to the close proximity. Instead, the major decisions United make next month will be Ten Hag’s.

The Dutchman will prioritise a centre-back signing above all others and Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo is his primary target.

The 23-year-old is valued around the £40m mark by Nice who have remarkably conceded just five goals in Ligue 1 this season. Todibo has been at the heart of their steely defence.

As ever with Man Utd, however, the story doesn’t end there. Indeed, Sky Sports reported on Thursday night that Tottenham have entered the race for Todibo’s signature.

Spurs’ need for a new centre-back is arguably greater than United’s. Micky van de Ven remains sidelined with a hamstring issue and Eric Dier is unfancied by Ange Postecoglou.

What’s more, chairman Daniel Levy is open to cashing in on Dier in January to avoid losing a saleable asset for free when Dier’s contract expires at season’s end.

Ten Hag is also on the hunt for a successor to Casemiro, though might not sign a direct replacement.

Indeed, the Independent concluded Ten Hag wants more of a ‘number eight’ to take Casemiro’s place.

A No 8 is a box-to-box midfielder, such as Scott McTominay rather than an out-and-out holding option like Casemiro or Sofyan Amrabat, for example.

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