Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd transfers: Five to BUY, five to SELL in ruthless Ratcliffe revamp of key tactical positions

Andre Onana, Andriy Lunin, Antony Michael Olise

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is set to undergo a revamp of Man Utd's squad this summer

TEAMtalk takes a look at five different positions where Sir Jim Ratcliffe could be ready to swap out one underperforming Manchester United player and bring in a real upgrade this summer.

Whoever the manager is at United beyond the end of this season remains to be seen but, regardless, Ratcliffe is still ready to wield the axe and revamp a squad that has massively underperformed this term.

The Red Devils will likely have to settle for a Europa League place at best, whether they win the FA Cup or finish sixth or seventh in the Premier League table. To that end, tempting some of the top players from across the globe to Old Trafford will be more difficult without Champions League to offer, although this is still Manchester United we’re talking about.

Yes there’s been no league title since 2013 but United remain one of the top clubs in the world and bringing in a bigger-name manager, if Erik ten Hag does move on, will also have a big part to play in recruitment

But, ultimately, overseeing all the ins and outs will be the man in charge of Football Operations as a whole, Ratcliffe, working with a new group of experts around him in the process.

And with a potential revolving-door scenario at Old Trafford this summer, TEAMtalk looks at five positions where the club could sell one player and bring in another to directly replace him.


OUT: This one will come as a surprise to some but not to others after a really up-and-down first season for Andre Onana at Old Trafford.

Having signed from Inter Milan for a fee that could end up being more than £47m, the Cameroon international has combined utter brilliance with mind-boggling incompetence and poor decision-making at times in his debut campaign.

But the bad reared its ugly head again when Burnley visited Old Trafford and earned a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Onana charged from his line to punch the ball clear but clattered into Clarets star Zeki Amdouni instead and gave away the penalty that earned Vincent Kompamy’s men a surprise point. That mistake came hot off the heels of another shocking error against Sheffield United in midweek.

As gifted as he is in possession and his shot-stopping capabilities, those sort of mindless aberrations are what a team who have ambitions to start challenging for titles again ill-afford.

But there is also no way Onana stays on as a No.2 as he is clearly too good for that role and his salary would not equate to that of a back-up.

To that end, a sale makes sense for a player who could end up wherever Ten Hag does next season – if the Dutchman does indeed get the chop

IN: The likes of Tottenham’s Guglielmo Vicario and Lazio shot-stopper Ivan Provedel have been linked with United in recent weeks, as doubts over Onana’s long-term future started to surface.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin

However, it’s another link to Real Madrid star Andriy Lunin that appears to have the most traction, especially as he is a player Ratcliffe is known to have great admiration for.

The 25-year-old has played a key role for the Spanish giants this season in the absence of Thibaut Courtois, making 29 appearances in all competitions and keeping 13 clean sheets.

Lunin’s contract at the Bernabeu is set to expire in 2025 and Fabrizio Romano last week that Real Madrid are working on a new deal for him.

However, United are actively trying to convince him to ditch LaLiga for the Premier League this summer and have also reportedly made a ‘huge contract offer’. This will be one to watch.

DEEP DIVE: Man Utd wages: Top 11 earners at Old Trafford revealed as Ratcliffe prepares to shred colossal wage bill


OUT: There’s a plethora of names here who will almost certainly quit the club as Ratcliffe revamps an area of the team that has suffered badly throughout the course of the season.

Lisando Martinez remains the constant, when fit, but there’s also an argument that the club need to bring in two new central defenders if Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans all move on. Victor Lindelof could still be kept as versatile cover though.

But for the sake of this argument, we’ll say that Maguire is sold for a fee that could be in the region of around £30million.

That’s obviously a massive loss on the £80m United splashed out on his signature back in 2019, although Maguire could always get a reprieve if Ten Hag leaves and someone who actually rates him comes in.

West Ham have been the main suitors for the England man, having failed to land him last summer, and that’s likely to remain the case even if David Moyes walks away from the London Stadium.

At his best, Maguire leaves a potentially big hole in United’s defence but he’s been much more at that level for his country than his club in recent times – so it won’t be a massive loss, depending on who replaces him.

IN: United have been linked with numerous names going back to last summer but the one that continues to probably make the most sense is Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite.

The Toffees centre-back has been a standout performer in a struggling side this season and is basically a younger, more mobile and quicker version of Maguire.

Pairing him alongside Martinez, if the Argentine can ever get back to full fitness, would give United a strong blend of everyhing you want from a centre-back partnership.

In terms of how much he will cost, Everton are likely to demand in the region of £60-70m for the 21-year-old, who is knocking on the door of the England squad for the upcoming Euros.

The Merseyside outfit could opt to stand firm and not sell, having secured their Premier League safety over the weekend, but continued PSR struggles are still likely to force their hand if a significant bid comes in.

Defensive midfield

OUT: Casemiro is the obvious candidate here following reports that Ratcliffe wants to get the Brazilian’s reported £350,000-a-week salary off the club’s wage bill.

The 32-year-old is currently under contract until 2026 but is not producing anything like the same level of performance as he did in his first season at Old Trafford.

Add that factor into the huge outlay United are forking out and it’s no real surprise why Ratcliffe wants to find a new long-term midfield partner for outstanding breakthrough youngster Kobbie Mainoo.

And although Casemiro may not be the only midfielder jettisoned by Ratcliffe this summer, with Scott McTominay and Christain Eriksen also tipped to leave – he is arguably the most influential to Ten Hag’s current side.

Ratcliffe wants the United squad to be younger across the board, none more so than in the centre of park, and numerous names have already been tipped up as Casemiro’s replacement.

IN: Of all those names mentioned, including the likes of Juventus star Adrien Rabiot, Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes, Brighton’s Carlos Baleba and Everton enforcer Amado Onana, one stands out.

Indeed, the name we keep getting drawn to is Bayern Munich and Germany star Joshua Kimmich.

There have been recent reports that the German giants could look to cash in on Kimmich as they look to improve a first XI that was blown away by Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga title race.

Kimmich, who at 29 is probably a little older than Ratcliffe would like, can play in midfield or cover right-back and would be an excellent addition to United’s team alongside Mainoo.

He’s also played under two managers who’ve been linked with the United job in Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann, although the latter has since committed himself to the Germany national team beyond the 2026 World Cup.

Kimmich has good awareness playing in front of the defence but is also strong enough on the ball to break forward when given space. In theory, he would also be a good foil for Mainoo and allow the Red Devils starlet to push further forward and affect games more.

His contract at the Allianz Arena is set to expire in 2025 and Bayern are thought to be looking at a fee in the region of £60m to sell.


OUT: This one is based purely on the stats and on Ten Hag also being shown the door, with Antony simply not living up to anything like his whopping £85.6m price tag.

The United boss wanted his former Ajax charge on board and got his way but, in truth, it’s been a disastrous addition for that sort of money.

The Brazil international has scored 11 goals in 80 appearances for the club but his performances this season have been particularly dire. In 36 total games, he has notched just three goals and only two assists.

For that sort of outlay, that is a truly woeful end product and United would do well to just cut their losses. The problem being that it appears there are not many takers for his signature.

If Ratcliffe could recoup at the very least half of what he paid then United could at least invest that on a quality replacement – but that’s a big IF at this stage.

IN: But in terms of who comes in to fill that right-wing spot and challenge the likes of Alejandro Garnacho and, to a lesser extent, Marcus Rashford – Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise is the perfect fit.

The Eagles ace, along with teammate Eberechi Eze, have both been tipped to make moves to Old Trafford in recent weeks – although Palace have since come out and said either player would cost at least £60m.

Olise is a classic winger who also has the ability to play inside but, more importantly, he has much better end product than Antony.

Despite injury issues this season, Olise has still notched seven goals and four assists in just 16 games for Palace. He is also a France Under-21 international who is eligible to play for England and Algeria.

In short, Olise would be a clear upgrade on Antony and is ready to take his game to the next level – which could end up being at United.

READ MOREMan Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘makes contact’ with agent of Cristiano Ronaldo as transfer plans take shape

Central striker

OUT: No transfer fee involved here but at least United will be able to finally get Anthony Martial‘s lofty salary off their books when he leaves on a free transfer this summer.

After a hugely promising start to life at Old Trafford, Martial has ultimately proven to be a big disappointment during almost nine years with the club.

He’s scored 90 goals in 317 total games for United, which is not a particularly great record for a player who has shown in the past that he has impressive qualities.

Martial’s presence this season has been mostly a non-factor with two goals in 19 games, arguably making it more difficult for big-money summer signing Rasmus Hojlund to bed himself in.

The Dane remains a terrific talent but he needed some pressure taken off him by the more experienced Martial and that never happened.

In short, the 28-year-old will not really be missed – but it still leaves United looking to bring in a more prolific forward to challenge Hojlund.

IN: Of all the strikers linked with United over the past 12-18 months, the one that continues to make the most overall sense is Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

Manchester United are seriously considering a move for Ivan Toney

Manchester United are seriously considering a move for Ivan Toney

The England forward knows his way to goal in the Premier League and would be far less of a gamble than some of the other players from outside of England who’ve been linked with the Red Devils.

What is more, it looks like the Bees are ready to accept a figure of around of around £40m for a player they wanted double that for back in January.

Toney has struggled a little since returning from his lengthy FA ban but has proved that he has all the qualities necessary to lead the line for a bigger club.

The 28-year-old is also in the prime of his career and, given the wealth of talent around him, could become the 25-goal-a-season frontman United need to be a serious challenger for the top honours in England again.

Ratcliffe might have a battle on hands though, with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham also keen on the Brentford hotshot.