Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd prepare £55m bid for ‘outstanding’ centre-back; two other positions they’ll strengthen revealed

Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite, man Utd target

Man Utd have prepped a £55m bid for Jarrad Branthwaite

Manchester United are readying a £55m opening bid for Everton ace Jarrad Branthwaite and its chances of being accepted have been assessed, while a report has named two other positions the Red Devils are sure to make signings in.

Man Utd confirmed on Tuesday morning that Raphael Varane will leave the club as a free agent this summer. The veteran Frenchman, 31, has been heavily linked with rounding out his career in Saudi Arabia, though an emotional return to boyhood club Lens has also been mooted.

Fellow centre-half Jonny Evans is also out of contract next month. Furthermore, Man Utd will listen to offers for both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

As such, at least one and more probably two new signings at centre-backs will be required.

According to the Daily Mail, the first body United aim to get through the door is Everton ace Jarrad Branthwaite.

The 21-year-old is a key target of new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Branthwaite ticks many a box for Ratcliffe, being young, British and boasting Premier League experience.

Adding to Branthwaite’s appeal is the fact he’s coming off the back of a superb breakthrough campaign at Goodison Park.

Indeed, Branthwaite formed a rock solid defensive pairing alongside James Tarkowski that was the foundation in Everton’s fight for survival.

Only the top three of Arsenal (28), Manchester City (33) and Liverpool (41) have conceded fewer goals than Everton’s mark of 49 in the Premier League this season.

Man Utd bid well short of Everton valuation

The Mail state Man Utd are ready to act on their interest by lodging an opening bid worth £55m. Everton are understood to value the player they signed from Carlisle United for just £1m at a much loftier £80m.

As such, Man Utd may well see their first offer knocked back, though there is genuine hope a discounted deal can be struck.

READ MORE: The key contract details of every Man Utd first-team player: Expiry dates, weekly wages, agents…

Everton’s financial woes are well-documented and the Toffees require a major sale or two to keep the club afloat.

Club director Kevin Thelwell warned at the weekend “players will be sold” to “protect the long-term stability of the club.”

Along with Amadou Onana, Branthwaite is among the two most valuable players at the club. Sales of either of those stars would prevent the need to sanction a broader clear-out.

The Mail also added weight to the suggestions United will sign two centre-halves in their report.

Among the other options at the heart of defence on United’s radar include Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham) Edmond Tapsoba (Bayer Leverkusen), Jean-Clair Todibo (Nice) and Gleison Bremer (Juventus), to name just five.

Defensive midfielder and striker signings wanted

Elsewhere, the report concluded Man Utd intend to make signings in the defensive midfield and striker positions.

The purpose of the first move would be to replace Casemiro who looks likely to move to Saudi Arabia. Signing a new striker would also help to lighten the load on Hojlund who has struggled in his maiden campaign in England.

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Man Utd’s initial summer budget won’t be all that high, meaning fans should not get their hopes up for a flurry of early activity.

Instead, new additions could arrive slowly but surely as United gradually rid their books of unwanted stars.

To that end, Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial will both leave as free agents, while a third major name has been put up for sale at just £20m…

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