Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd transfers: Unhappy Ten Hag targets £69m Bundesliga centre-back to fix glaring problem; player keen on move

Matthijs de Ligt Bayern Munich

Matthijs de Ligt has emerged as a target for Man Utd

Manchester United are reportedly keeping tabs on the Bayern Munich defender Matthijs De Ligt, with a view to making a substantial offer for the Netherlands centre-back.

Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag is still said to be unsatisfied with his defensive unit and wants to add his fellow countryman and offload Harry Maguire in what is considered a major upgrade for the position.

De Ligt currently has a contract with Bayern until the summer of 2027, having only joined the Bundesliga giants in July 2022 for an initial €67million.

He has already worked with Ten Hag, having played under the United chief while he was in charge at Ajax, although the Old Trafford outfit are expected to face competition from Barcelona for his signature.

Reports from Turkey suggest De Ligt could cost in the region of €80m (£69m), which would still be £11m less than United coughed up for Maguire.

The 24-year-old was regarded as a world-class talent while working under Ten Hag but has since lost his way a little during spells at Juventus and then in Germany.

But, according to the report, he’s hoping a link-up with his old boss could kickstart his career and give him some momentum going into the Euros in 2024.

Only Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are considered as reliable centre-back options for United, with Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans just serviceable back-ups and Maguire not really in the picture at all.

As for De Ligt, he has fallen behind Kim Min-jae and Dayot Upamecano in the pecking order of centre-backs under Thomas Tuchel at Bayern.

He has made 49 appearances in total for the Bavarian outfit scoring four times, but it appears they are ready to cash in – if the right offer is submitted for the player.

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Dutch centre-back considered a United upgrade

De Ligt would certainly be considered an upgrade on the likes of Lindelof and Evans and, considering his physical tools, would probably be a better fit for the Premier League than the diminutive, and often injured, Martinez.

It just remains to be seen whether United are willing to fork out £69m on another central defender, given how Maguire’s signing has since turned into somewhat of a disaster.

There is also the spectre of Barcelona looming, given their fondness for signing Dutch players that goes back several decades. The only issue for the Catalan giants is whether they can afford their player, given their ongoing financial issues.

United are back in action on Tuesday night when they host Galatasaray in the Champions League, looking for a morale-boosting win.

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