Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd shortlist ‘confirmed’ as top source names four centre-backs under consideration

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

Manchester United have a four-strong shortlist of centre-backs they could target in the summer, a respected reporter has revealed – but one of them plays for a club who want one of the others.

The options available to Erik ten Hag at centre-back for Man Utd this season are Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans. However, some of them have been facing uncertain futures.

For example, it was something of a surprise that Maguire stayed in the summer. More recently, Varane may have been questioning his future.

In an ideal world, it seems Man Utd are in the market for a new starter alongside Martinez for the long term. That means they will probably be looking for a right-footed centre-back.

On Tuesday evening, Sky Sports Deutschland reporter Florian Plettenberg has referred to Man Utd’s plans in an update focusing firstly on Leny Yoro, who is on their four-player shortlist.

Yoro is enjoying a breakthrough season in Ligue 1 with Lille, who only have the 18-year-old under contract until the end of next season.

IN DEPTH ~ Who is Leny Yoro? The towering French stalwart on the radars of Man Utd, Liverpool and Tottenham

Plettenberg has confirmed that Yoro is a potential target for Bayern Munich, but also that Man Utd have been keeping a close eye on his development (well aware they will face competition from many of Europe’s top clubs).

The interesting subplot is that one of Bayern’s current centre-backs, Matthijs De Ligt, is also under consideration by Man Utd.

De Ligt joined Bayern from Juventus in 2022 and remains under contract until 2027, but the 24-year-old’s future in Munich is uncertain.

Of course, he previously played under current Man Utd manager Ten Hag at Ajax.

Who else are Man Utd considering?

As well as Yoro and De Ligt, Plettenberg has had it ‘confirmed’ that Man Utd’s shortlist of centre-backs also includes Antonio Silva and Ronald Araujo.

Silva, 20, currently plays for Benfica, whose academy he progressed through before earning a first-team place (and subsequently a contract until 2027).

Araujo, meanwhile, is the same age as De Ligt. He has two-and-a-half years remaining on his contract with Barcelona, who signed him (originally for their B team) back in 2018.

De Ligt and Araujo are probably the most high-profile players on Man Utd’s radar in this department, but Yoro and Silva both have major potential and could be worth investing in before their values escalate even further than their current levels.

Silva, for example, has a €100m release clause in his contract with Benfica already, which equates to around £86m.

Interestingly, none of the players on Man Utd’s shortlist have played in the Premier League before. However, De Ligt, Araujo and Silva all have Champions League experience.

Yoro, meanwhile, has represented Lille in the Europa Conference League. He is an under-21 international for his country (France), whereas the other three all have senior caps for their nations.

All four players are right-footed, which reinforces the idea that Martinez will remain a regular starter in the evolving Man Utd backline, but Varane could be under pressure.

The former Real Madrid stopper is now into the final 18 months of his contract at Old Trafford and seems to have decreased in prominence in Ten Hag’s thinking this season.

In the Premier League so far, Varane has started eight games, in contrast to 10 each for Lindelof and Evans, nine for Maguire, five for Martinez (who had an injury at one stage) and one for youngster Willy Kambwala.

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