Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd told they can sign perfect Casemiro successor by club CEO as Ratcliffe transfer plan ignites

Man Utd are interested in Antwerp midfielder Mandela Keita

Man Utd are interested in Antwerp midfielder Mandela Keita

Manchester United are looking to bring in a new midfield partner for Kobbie Mainoo and are reportedly interested in OH Leuven star Mandela Keita.

The talented 21-year-old is currently on loan with Royal Antwerp and has made 30 appearances this season, contributing three assists in the process.

With the futures of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen in doubt, Sir Jim Ratcliffe will look to bring in a young holding midfielder to replace them.

Man Utd have several exciting players on their shortlist that fit the bill. Everton star Amadou Onana, for example, is greatly admired by the Red Devil’s recruitment chiefs.

The Toffees are expected to demand around £80m for Onana if they survive relegation, however, which Ratcliffe may well be reluctant to pay.

Man Utd are considering other options and a more affordable one could be Keita, who is considered to be one of the best young players in Europe.

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Antwerp CEO predicts sale of Man Utd target

Antwerp have the option to make Keita’s loan a permanent move at the end of the season if ‘certain conditions are fulfilled.’

If they do trigger that option, as expected, they could then ‘flip him for profit’ by inviting bids in the region of €20m (£17.1m), per reports.

In an interview with Het NieuwsbladAntwerp’s CEO Sven Jaecques admitted that it will be very difficult to keep hold of Keita in the summer.

This will come as bad news to supporters after the Belgian side lost star man Arthur Vermeeren to Atletico Madrid for £15m in January.

“It will be difficult to keep Mandela Keita,” a rather resigned CEO sighs. “Keita has been receiving interest from abroad for some time. In January, we even turned down concrete offers for him.

“After this season, that will be less obvious (that we can keep him).

Keita is a formidable force playing as a defensive midfielder, making an average of 3.2 tackles and 2 interceptions per game.

The once-capped Belgium international is also comfortable with the ball at his feet with a pass success rate of 89%.

Keita is only expected to improve as he gains experience, too, so could prove to be an excellent long-term investment for Man Utd.

He certainly fits in with Ratcliffe’s plan to bring the hottest prospects in Europe to Old Trafford, so it will be interesting to see if the Red Devils make a concrete offer for him in the coming months.

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