Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd ready approach to sign €50m-rated former Real Madrid winger as upgrade on failed Ten Hag signing

Real Sociedad winger Takefusa Kubo is wanted by Manchester United as a replacement for Antony

Takefusa Kubo is wanted by Manchester United as a replacement for Antony

Manchester United are reportedly ready to make a surprise move to sign Real Sociedad winger Takefusa Kubo after Erik ten Hag came to an unwanted conclusion over one of his own major signings.

The Red Devils showed great promise in the first season of Ten Hag’s leadership, finishing third in the Premier League, winning the Carabao Cup and also reaching the FA Cup final. But the 2023/24 campaign has so far proved a major step backwards with Manchester United seemingly lurching from one crisis to another and seeing a number of their top stars failing to perform.

Now with the club’s new investor – the British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe – set to take charge of all transfer dealings at Old Trafford, it seems the club are gearing up for a number of much-needed upgrades across the park.

First up, it’s reported Ratcliffe already has his eyes on a possible upgrade for struggling summer signing Andre Onana, with an elite LaLiga goalkeeper reportedly being strongly looked at.

And there is also speculation that the Red Devils are seeking a midfield upgrade too with Sofyan Amrabat failing to make the grade and with Casemiro seemingly eyeing up a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia.

However, it is another of Ten Hag’s failed signings who could find himself soon being replaced with the The Sun suggesting Ten Hag has reached an unwanted conclusion over the performances of Brazil winger Antony.

The Dutchman paid a radically overly-inflated £85m to reunite with his former Ajax player at Old Trafford in summer 2022. And while the winger scored on his debut pointing towards a successful future, he has badly struggled since.

READ MORE ~ Comparing every Premier League club to their squad cost in 2023/24: Man Utd are big underachievers

Ten Hag wants Kubo as Antony replacement at Man Utd

Indeed, the 23-year-old has had a miserable time of things this season, taking time out the side to defend himself against serious allegations made by a former partner, and also struggling to show anything like the form that persuaded United to shell out the second biggest fee in their history.

So far this season, Antony does not have a single goal or assist to his name from 18 appearances. And overall, he only has a miserable eight goals and two assists from 62 outings in total.

Now it seems Ten Hag, after talks with Ratcliffe, has come to the realisation that United are in need of a serious upgrade if the team are to challenge for top honours again.

As a result, it’s reported that United are to make a big push to sign Real Sociedad star Kubo, who has really hit the straps since departing Real Madrid back in summer 2022.

The 22-year-old Japan winger has an impressive 15 goals and 13 assists from 67 appearances for Sociedad since making the switch, going from strength to strength in that time.

This season, he already has six goals and four assists from 23 appearances, having also illustrated his qualities in the Champions League.

Now it’s claimed United have been watching Kubo extensively and are preparing to make their move.

The Sun now suggests an offer in the region of €50m (£43m) will be enough to convince Sociedad to cash in, though any sale looks unlikely to go through midway through a season in which Imanol Alguacil’s side are already through to the Champions League knockout stages.

Barcelona boss Xavi also a fan of Kubo

However, a summer move looks very much on the cards with Ratcliffe and Ten Hag seemingly setting their hearts on bringing the 29-times Japan winger to Old Trafford.

While Sociedad would ideally like their winger to stay, his sale could help prevent the need for Sociedad to cash in on another of their prized assets in midfielder Martin Zubimendi.

The 24-year-old has been scouted by United, Barcelona and Arsenal in recent months and is also rated in the €50m bracket.

Meanwhile, Barca boss Xavi has also spoken about Kubo in glowing terms recently, describing the Japanese attacker as a top-tier talent.

“Takefusa Kubo is a world-class player. Not only when playing with the ball, but also when he doesn’t have the ball, he can do his best,” Xavi said.

Kubo, who counts Real Mallorca, Getafe and Villarreal among his former loan clubs, has himself said of his development: “This year I want to be important, just like last year but I also want to appear in those moments that the team has the need.”

Now it remains to be seen if that progress will be rewarded with a lucrative summer 2024 switch to Old Trafford.

DON’T MISS ~ Jadon Sancho: Ruthless Ratcliffe considers brutal way to resolve Ten Hag row as Man Utd follow Cristiano Ronaldo lead