Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Triple Man Utd raid on Crystal Palace gathers pace as source backs Ratcliffe to spring £120m surprise

Crystal Palace pair Marc Guehi and Michael Olise are reported targets of Man Utd

Marc Guehi and Michael Olise are reported targets of Man Utd

Manchester United are being tipped to land two top-level Crystal Palace players this summer in Michael Olise and Marc Guehi  – while a third man will reportedly move first after an approach from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and as part one of a devastating triple raid on Selhurst Park.

British billionaire Ratcliffe is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to restore Manchester United to the summit of English and European football. Having spent £1.4bn in acquiring 27.7% of the Glazers shares, the 71-year-old is making a number of high-profile moves both on, and off, the field.

In assembling a crack team behind the scenes of the game’s top names, Ratcliffe has already brought in Omar Berrada as CEO from Manchester City, while Frenchman Jean-Claude Blanc is likely to arrive soon as a director, having held similar roles in the past with Juventus and PSG.

Perhaps the biggest – and costliest – coup of all, however, will be that of Dan Ashworth, who has been lured from Newcastle to become United’s first-ever sporting director. After a number of disastrous and costly transfer mistakes at Old Trafford down the years, Ashworth’s brief will be to identify and sign the game’s very best talent to help United on their path to glory once again.

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If that wasn’t enough, reports on Thursday morning claimed United were also pushing to bring in Palace technical director Dougie Freedman in an, as yet-unspecified role, to work alongside Ashworth.

Tipped by Simon Jordan to make the move, who knows Freedman well, United would be landing on two of the very best transfer minds around in the landing on the pair.

Jordan backs Dougie Freedman to join Man Utd

Discussing what he would bring to the Red Devils and why his appointment alongside Ashworth would prove a shrewd move by Ratcliffe, Jordan told talkSPORT: “I can see him at Man Utd, and I am pretty sure they are interested. Dougie is a good thinker, a good spotter of talent, and a good negotiator.

“I have known Dougie at 25 years now, and he’s someone that I’m very fond of. He is capable in the position he is in.”

He added: “The players who got [Crystal Palace] promotion were his team. Players he recruited like Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak.

“I think the space he’s in now – where he can think clearly and make decisions based on recruitment – is a great space for Dougie. I wouldn’t be surprised (to see him at United). It’s a good fit and could be distinctly likely to happen.”

Jordan also thinks Freedman’s recruitment for Palace – with Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi all arriving for a combined £42m in recent years – illustrate exactly how his wisdom can benefit United.

“I think they [United] are building. People will look and think; ‘Dougie to United?’. But you could say the same about Dan Ashworth.

“Players Palace have recruited, such as Eze and players like that, are players Dougie signed. He works well in teams and he is a very clever operator. He is not controversial and doesn’t get in people’s faces.

“He’s got plenty of steel, don’t worry about that. I think, if he gets the opportunity, he is well worthy of it.”

Man Utd hone in on Olise and Guehi captures

Of course, it’s not just off the field where United are strengthening their arm, with reports indicating Ratcliffe is also planning to offer serious funds to help transform the club’s squad too.

To that end, the British billionaire hopes to make at least four new signings with a defender, midfielder and a striker targeted to bolster their spine.

However, they are also very much in the market for a new right-sided winger too, especially amid doubts over Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri – both of whom are out on loan – and the ineffective Antony who has endured a woeful campaign and must rank as one of the worst big-money signings in United’s history.

With that in mind, TEAMtalk confirmed earlier this week that Palace star Olise remains a very firm target of Ratcliffe this summer with talk of a £60m approach heating up.

The Red Devils are also keen on another prized Eagles asset in the form of Guehi as they look to strengthen their rearguard.

Now talk is growing that a move for Freedman could open things up in pursuit of Palace’s star duo and a potential triple coup that could set United back some £120m.

Discussing their plans for the summer, transfer journalist Dean Jones told Givemesport: “Interestingly, the Freedman pursuit is happening when United have their eye on a couple of key players from Palace.

“Olise and Guehi have been identified as players United could move for in the summer. While I do not believe this appointment would guarantee those players joining or that Freedman is behind it, it probably doesn’t do much harm.

Man Utd to identify key summer targets

“It will be interesting to see how the United first-team transfer search opens up from here because I was always told that the end of March and the start of April would be pivotal in identifying who would come in, and that is starting to fit well.”

“They already have a list of targets, but the new guys going into the club will get a chance to have their thoughts on those names and suggest ones of their own.”

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Jones added: “I think Olise and Guehi are a good level of player for United to target at a time when they have to be realistic about who they can get. But after the next few weeks, I expect new names to emerge.”

Palace rate Guehi at the £50m mark, while Olise will likely cost a further £60m owing to a release clause. That’ll represent some mark up from the £18m paid to Chelsea for the former and the bargain £8.2m forked out to Reading for the latter.

Freedman, meanwhile, contracted to Selhurst Park himself until 2027, is expected to cost another £10m in compensation.