Manchester United will reportedly turn their attention towards Real Madrid in their quest to land a new top-class defender this summer – and optimism is growing that a surprise deal can be struck.
Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag is looking to strengthen his squad this summer with at least three marquee signings. The United boss has already moved to bring in Mason Mount, while talks over a deal for Andre Onana continue to plod along. A deal reportedly in the region of £47m should soon be confirmed for the Inter Milan goalkeeper.
And while Ten Hag has limited funds at his disposal, a number of player departures could still see him land two more targets this summer. To that end, United also want to bring in a new striker and a new defender.
As far as a striker goes, the club remain in the hunt to sign Rasmus Hojlund despite claims Atalanta have significantly raised his asking price.
Ten Hag, however, also wants to bring in another quality central defensive option. However, the United manager has seen his No 1 target – Napoli defender Kim Min-jae – move to within touching distance of a move to Bayern Munich.
However, good news could be around the corner after reports in Spain claimed Real Madrid are ready to sell a top star to United for the third summer in a row.
To that end, reports claim a move for Austria defender David Alaba is on the cards for United.
Comparing the move to last summer’s swoop for Casemiro, which also came out of the blue, United are now on the trail of Alaba.
David Alaba to follow Varane, Casemiro to Man Utd
And it’s suggested a €40m (£34.4m) offer is ‘gaining strength’ with Ten Hag reportedly ‘optimistic’ a deal can be struck.
Alaba, who joined Real Madrid as a free agent from Bayern Munich in summer 2021, has three years left on his deal at the Bernabeu. But sensing his valuation is only likely to decline, Real Madrid are severely tempted to cash in on the star.
Furthermore, the report claims the 31-year-old is ‘seduced’ by the idea of playing for United and in the Premier League.
Having won the domestic title in both Germany and Spain, the nine-times Austrian Player of the Year is tempted by one final career challenge.
And the signs suggest he could follow both Casemiro and Raphael Varane to Old Trafford. Indeed, a move would make him the third player in as many summers to move leave Real for Manchester.
United’s quest to strengthen their defence is also likely to be boosted by the departure of Harry Maguire.
The England defender has fallen down the pecking order under Ten Hag and has been freed to leave.
Earlier this week, Fabrizio Romano revealed United were “struggling to find buyers”.
“I’m aware of reports on Harry Maguire’s price tag proving an issue. But I think it’s a normal moment on the market where almost no one is signing centre backs, apart from Tottenham working on some players in that position,” Romano told Caught Offside.
“So it’s understandable if United are struggling to find buyers, because the domino has not started yet.
“Maguire remains available on the market for sure. But he’s also prepared to fight for his place in case nothing will happen. He will speak to Erik ten Hag in the next days.”
Maguire heading for West Ham
Since those comments, however, a move to West Ham has taken an upturn. And the Hammers are seemingly ready to make a sizeable bid to prise away the 30-year-old.
The Hammers might not quite match United’s valuation for the star. Nonetheless, Ten Hag is keen to move the £80m man along.
And once his exit goes through, that should provide United with the funds needed to sign Alaba. His versatility also appeals to Ten Hag, given he can also cover at left-back or in midfield.
Alaba has made 85 appearances for Real Madrid, scoring five goals.
He is also on the pushing to become Austria’s most-capped ever player. He currently sits on 101 appearances, just seven shy of 34-year-old Marko Arnautovic’s total of 108.