Manchester United will face competition from Barcelona if they are to win the race for Ryan Gravenberch, according to reports.
United’s transfer policy is to sign the best young talent from around the globe. For example, they have secured deals for the likes of Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo in recent months.
Gravenberch recently emerged as another target, having stood out since his promotion to the Ajax first team in 2018.
The midfielder has been entrusted with a bigger role this season following Donny van de Beek’s move to Man Utd. He has even scored in the Champions League.
In total, Gravenberch has two goals and four assists from 15 appearances – all of which have been starts – in the Eredivisie this season.
The 18-year-old is already making an impact in senior football and that has put him on the radar of a number of European giants.
United have been keen on Gravenberch since the summer, and they have not lost sight of their target.
However, unsurprisingly for a player of Gravenberch’s potential, United are not the only suitor. According to Don Balon, Barcelona also want to sign him.
Barca have had many Dutch players over the years and are currently managed by one in Ronald Koeman. His connection with Dutch players from his time coaching their national team is having an impact on their transfer plans.
For example, one of Koeman’s main targets is Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. But Gravenberch is another option.
Barcelona are also long-term admirers of Gravenberch, who would cost around €30m. The way he has cemented himself as a regular for Ajax suggests he would be able to adapt to a bigger stage.
Therefore, the La Liga giants will aim to swoop for Gravenberch in the summer. If Joan Laporta wins their presidential election, his positive relationship with agent Mino Raiola could make the deal more likely.
United, on the other hand, have frosty relations with Raiola after his comments about fellow client Paul Pogba.
Van De Beek transfer dubbed ‘strange’
If Gravenberch did end up at Old Trafford, he would hope to make a bigger impact than the last man to swap Ajax for United.
Things have not gone to plan for Van de Beek since his summer move from the Amsterdam club. His future is already in question.
Former United player Luke Chadwick has explained his view on the situation, labelling the signing a “strange” one.
“I think we’re at the point now where it’s not really a surprise, you don’t really expect him to be in the team or even be the first substitute who comes in,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside.
“He does seem to be a long way down the pecking order and it’s turned into a strange transfer in general. He’s had such a limited amount of game time, he’s had good moments but not influenced games as much as he can.
“His confidence is obviously down and it’s probably not helped that his agent’s coming out and criticised the club. He’s a fantastically talented player but can’t get anywhere near the team at the moment.
“It is such a strange situation. I don’t think I’ve seen it before, in my career, where such a big-name player has come in for such big money and then had such little game time.”