Man Utd star teases summer exit that could force Ten Hag into activating Liverpool target’s release clause
A Man Utd star admitted he’ll “re-evaluate and see what’s best” for his future this summer, and his potential exit could force the Red Devils into activating a Liverpool target’s release clause, per reports.
Among Erik ten Hag’s first priorities last summer was the signing of a new centre-half. Man Utd went toe-to-toe with Arsenal for Lisandro Martinez, with the ex-Ajax man ultimately deciding to link back up with Ten Hag at Old Trafford.
The Argentine wasted no time in displacing Harry Maguire and forming a superb partnership with Raphael Varane. That relegated Maguire down to third choice at best with left-back Luke Shaw also deputising in a central role on multiple occasions in 2023.
However, it was even worse news for Victor Lindelof who’s barely had a sniff in the league this season. Indeed, the Sweden captain’s nine EPL appearances have totalled just 537 minutes this term.
Lindelof will turn 29 this summer and should be in the prime years of his career. However, unless there’s a dramatic U-turn, he’ll spend those years primarily on the bench at Old Trafford.
To avert that scenario, speculation has begun to grow Lindelof could make way at season’s end. Football Insider are among various outlets who claim United are ready to cash in.
Now, speaking while on international duty with Sweden, Lindelof has added fuel to the fire regarding a possible summer exit.
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Lindelof lays down gauntlet to Man Utd
“Obviously I want to play,” said Lindelof (via Football Daily). “That’s why I play football, because you want to play games.
“But I haven’t thought about that, right now I’m just focussing on the national team and then the rest of the season with the club.
“Then in summer we have to re-evaluate and see what’s best.”
Even if Lindelof is retained, multiple publications have claimed Harry Maguire is on the chopping block too.
The Manchester Evening News were among them, while the MailPlus claimed United are resigned to recouping just half of the £80m they paid Leicester in 2019.
For a club like United who’ll expect to challenge on four fronts once again next season, having four reliable and established centre-halves to choose from is essential.
As such, if either Lindelof or Maguire do depart, a move for Liverpool target, Kim Min-jae, could quickly take shape.
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Napoli ace’s release clause has suitors buzzing
The Napoli colossus, 26, has been dominant in Serie A this season and is a major factor in Luciano Spalletti’s side amassing a whopping 19-point lead over second-placed Lazio.
Upon joining from Fenerbahce for around £14m last summer, a release clause worth €50m (approx. £44m) was inserted into Kim’s deal.
The clause can only be activated in a specific two-week period during the summer window, and only by overseas clubs.
Football Insider recently reported Liverpool are ready to trigger Kim’s clause when the time comes. Man Utd too like what they’ve seen from the South Korean and a Lindelof or Maguire exit could force their hand.
In that scenario, FI claimed Kim would prioritise a club that can offer Champions League football.
Barring a late-season surge from Liverpool, Man Utd will be able to satisfy that demand, while Jurgen Klopp’s team might not.