Man Utd eye move for former Man City man with Ten Hag sensing deal to put Bellingham, Rice in shade

Romeo Lavia of Southampton prior to Premier League game against Everton at Goodison Park

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights on a new midfield target this summer with Erik ten Hag looking to benefit from Southampton’s potential relegation to the Championship.

The Red Devils are enjoying an excellent season under Ten Hag’s instruction. Having won the Carabao Cup on Sunday, the club are also still very much active in three other competitions this season.

As such FA Cup and, or Europa League glory could put the cherry on the cake of an excellent season. Before those competitions are finalised, however, United will also hope to secure their Champions League return with a top-four Premier League finish.

As a result, the Red Devils are starting to put plans in place for the next phase of Ten Hag’s rebuilding programme. So far, the United boss has signed nine new players with three arriving in January after his six additions in the summer.

However, the United boss appears ready to get ruthless ahead of this summer’s window as he looks to further streamline his squad. To that end, a report on Wednesday suggested seven players, costing a total of £253m, could all be offloaded this summer.

That would seriously strengthen Ten Hag’s ability to strengthen his squad as a result. And not only would it free up several spaces in his squad, the Dutchman would also add to his transfer kitty in the process.

As a result, Ten Hag is likely to focus on quality over quantity this summer. And he seemingly wants to bring in a top line striker and midfielder as his main priorities.

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Man Utd keen on Romeo Lavia transfer

Any deal for a new striker this summer is likely to set United back a club-record fee. Victor Osimhen and Harry Kane are the two men in their sights; deals for either would surely break the £100m barrier.

They also have lofty plans to make a new midfield signing too. Casemiro has proved an astute purchase in the centre of midfield. But alongside, Ten Hag knows United have room for improvement.

As such, they are reportedly on the trail of both Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham this summer.

Deals for either player would also hit United hard in the pocket. Indeed, West Ham are using Enzo Fernandez’s move to Chelsea as a guide over their valuation of Rice. And that would mean any deal would likely cost around the £105m mark.

His England teammate Bellingham, meanwhile, looks set to move for even more. And the latest reports claim his club, Borussia Dortmund, are seeking a fee in the region of £132m (€150m).

However, deals for both a new big-name striker and an elite midfielder might be beyond the Red Devils.

As a compromise, the Daily Mail claims Ten Hag is eyeing up a deal for Southampton star Romeo Lavia.

The 19-year-old has been a huge hit at St Mary’s since a summer move from Manchester City. Indeed, his departure from the Etihad came as something of a shock with Pep Guardiola a huge fan of the Belgian Under-21 international.

Indeed, having featured in 20 matches this season for Saints, Lavia has underlined his obvious qualities. And that form has already alerted Chelsea to his clear potential.

However, City are also thought to have inserted a clause in his deal allowing them to re-sign Lavia for around £40m. That, however, does not come active until summer 2024 at the earliest.

United ready to take advantage of Southampton demise

The report, though, says that United are now ready to join that race and could meet Saints’ £40m valuation.

The south-coast club are marooned to the foot of the table with just 18 points to their name this season.

And their demotion back to the second tier will raise hopes that United can pull off his signing.

Saints would have little choice but to cash in on their major assets in the event of relegation. And Lavia and James Ward-Prowse are seen as their most-desirable players with demand for the pair likely to be high.

Per the Mail, Ten Hag sees Lavia as a huge star of the future. And the Dutchman would love nothing more than to bring the teenager back to Manchester.

And the Dutchman seemingly sees the former City man as better value for money than the likes of Rice and Bellingham.

His signing would likely see at least one departure from the midfield though. Indeed, Donny van de Beek is among those likely to move on, while United are unlikely to be short of suitors for Scott McTominay.

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