Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Second source confirms Ten Hag wants LaLiga ace, with major Man Utd starter’s exit a foregone conclusion

Spain centre-back Robin Le Normand

Claims Manchester United are pursuing a LaLiga centre-half have been backed up by a new source who also suggest a current starter’s exit is all but guaranteed.

The Red Devils produced a tepid display in the Manchester derby on Sunday, running out 3-0 losers against a dominant Manchester City side.

United’s backline was severely weakened for the contest, with Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw both missing out with injury.

Raphael Varane would ordinarily start. However, in quotes carried by Fabrizio Romano, Erik ten Hag suggested the Frenchman being relegated to the bench was simply down to “tactics”.

The end result saw Harry Maguire partner Jonny Evans at centre-half. Another centre-back, – Victor Lindelof – played at left-back.

The derby was Maguire’s fourth successive start in all competitions for United and by and large, the 30-year-old has stood up tall during the run.

However, according to Romano, a brand new centre-half will be targeted by Man Utd in 2024.

Speaking one week ago, Romano said: “As I’ve previously reported, we know Man Utd want a top centre-back for 2024, so we’re going to see a lot of names linked.”

Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo appears to have risen to the top of the shortlist. The 23-year-old is high on the idea of joining United and the feeling from the club is mutual.

What’s more, the looming Sir Jim Ratcliffe connection – the owner of Nice – has been tipped to help swing a deal Man Utd’s way.

Regardless, a club like Man Utd must always formulate back-up plans and TEAMtalk recently learned Real Sociedad’s Robin Le Normand is a player they admire.

The 26-year-old has become a regular in Spain’s national side in 2023 on the back of his stellar displays at club level.

Le Normand’s contract with La Real contains a release clause worth €50m (£43.6m). That could make him a cheaper option to Todibo who Romano claimed will now be “super expensive” to sign. The price hike comes on the back of his excellent form for Nice who currently sit atop the Ligue 1 table.

Le Normand claims echoed; Maguire exit guaranteed?

Now, a report from Spain (as cited by Goal), have echoed the claims Man Utd are sizing up Le Normand.

It’s confirmed Man Utd and Ten Hag have positioned themselves among the ‘main suitors’ for Le Normand. The report names Real Madrid as a club who’ll provide competition for his signature.

However, the report remarkably goes on to suggest Harry Maguire’s exit is a mere formality.

In their words, it’s stated Man Utd are ‘urgently looking for defensive reinforcements, especially after the departure of Harry Maguire’.

Man Utd accepted a £30m bid from West Ham for Maguire over the summer, though the player refused to discuss personal terms with the Hammers.

The report provides no further details on where Maguire might end up. As such, it appears to be a case of the outlet anticipating Man Utd will seek to move Maguire on once again, though no agreement is in place for the time being.

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