Man Utd primed to dash Barcelona hopes over two starters Ten Hag trusts, as failed swap deal surfaces

Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford

Two Man Utd starters remain in Barcelona’s sights and one in particular has a growing list of suitors, though why Erik ten Hag shouldn’t worry has emerged.

The Red Devils limped out of the gate under new boss Erik ten Hag. Back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Brentford was the worst possible way to begin the new era.

However, neither United or their new manager panicked and a run of four straight league victories has followed.

That fine streak will be put to the ultimate test against Man City at the Etihad on Sunday.

Ahead of the Manchester derby, Paul Merson has predicted Ten Hag will axe one of his most expensive signings amid fears they could be “ripped to shreds”.

Regardless, two almost certain starters are Diogo Dalot at right-back and Marcus Rashford, either up front or on the left wing.

The pair have both quickly established themselves as undroppable assets for their Dutch boss. However, according to Spanish outlet Sport, they’re both admired in Barcelona too.

Barca were linked with Rashford over the summer while Dalot’s list of admirers is growing by the week.

Both players are out of contract at the end of the season, though United do hold options for an extra 12 months.

Fabrizio Romano recently detailed why Manchester United are hesitant to activate Dalot’s clause. The Red Devils want a long-term deal signed and only if that can’t be achieved will they trigger the one-year extension as a last resort.

Man Utd need not worry about Rashford, Dalot

Dalot is also wanted by Roma, while the Manchester Evening News list AC Milan, Juventus and Atletico Madrid among his potential suitors.

Per Sport, Dalot is hugely admired by Barcelona boss Xavi and he is rated highly by the club’s hierarchy too.

It’s claimed a potential swap deal involving Sergino Dest was mooted in the latter days of the summer window.

However, the move did not get airborne, and given Dalot’s displays at Old Trafford this year, it’s easy to see why Man Utd weren’t interested.

Dalot and Rashford to a lesser extent are still in Barcelona’s crosshairs, stated the report. However, it’s acknowledged handing both players new long-term extensions has become an essential priority in Manchester.

As such, and given United have the safety net of 12-month options, Ten Hag need not fear Barcelona poaching two of his most trusted stars any time soon.

Dalot makes a mockery of selection battle

Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka fought a hotly-contested battle for gametime last season.

The pair split minutes almost equally, though Dalot has emerged as the undisputed first choice this season.

His greater ability on the ball and higher effectiveness going forward better suits Ten Hag’s demands.

He is also a growing influence on the international stage having scored twice for Portugal against the Czech Republic last week.

There has been talk of United dipping into the market for another right-back in the future.

However, given Dalot’s rise, logic would dictate the new arrival would oust Wan-Bissaka and compete for minutes with Dalot, as opposed to replace him entirely.