Manchester United are reportedly growing in confidence that they can seal the signing of a player much-admired by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – but face paying above the odds for the player to land him in the January window.
United’s solid start to the season threatens to be undone in recent weeks. Four wins and a draw from their first five games saw them well placed in the Premier League table. But last week’s defeat to Aston Villa, followed by Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Everton – both at Old Trafford – appear to have quashed the feel-good vibe.
Indeed, United had suffered three defeats in their last four games prior to Wednesday’s much-needed Champions League win over Villarreal.
The Red Devils though do boast arguably the strongest squad in the Premier League. Their summer signings of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho offered United – on paper at least – some serious upgrades on their options.
However, one signing who didn’t quite get over the line was Kieran Trippier, despite their best efforts.
The England star is a player much admired by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Trippier is known for his vibrant attacking displays from deep. He would’ve provided the perfect foil for the more defensively-minded Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Attacking full-backs are an increasingly-important factor in the modern game, but Wan-Bissaka does not have that in his locker. Indeed, in his 108 appearances for United, Wan-Bissaka has two goals and 12 assists to his name.
And while not bad, United see an obvious room for improvement. Furthermore, Trippier’s ability to also cover at left-back provides another string to his bow.
As such, reports in Spain claim United are ready to try again for Trippier. Indeed, Todofijaches, via Caught Offside, claims the Red Devils have a growing condidence of securing his signing in January.
Any move for Trippier, however, is likely to cost United a sizeable fee.
Indeed, the reports states United could have to go as high as €45m (£38.5m) to bring Trippier to Old Trafford. That deal would represent more than double the bid they made for the 31-year-old over the summer.
And while convincing Trippier to return to his native north-west won’t be an issue, it will take the sizeable fee to convince Atleti to sell.
United could, however, help fund the move by offloading Diogo Dalot. The Portuguese star is valued at around £20m.
Ashley Young wants United to sign Verratti
Former United star Ashley Young, meanwhile, claims the club should focus on signing Marco Verratti to boost their midfield.
The 28-year-old Italian was superb in the engine room as PSG sunk Man City 2-0 on Tuesday night. In Young’s opinion, Verratti would be an “unbelievable” signing for the Red Devils.
“The Michael Carrick type has been missing for years. They haven’t gone out and replaced Michael Carrick.
“Don’t get me wrong – Fred and McTominay are good players but I don’t think there’s a Michael Carrick around.
“I was watching the PSG v City game yesterday and I think Marco Verratti is the closest one and nobody’s gone out to test the water to try to sign him. I think he would be an unbelievable signing for Manchester United.”
Young then turned his attention to Paul Pogba. The Frenchman has been deployed mainly on the left flank lately, something Young believes Solskjaer is “missing a trick” with.
“I think (United) are missing a trick in the centre of midfield. I think Paul needs to play there,” Young added. “At the weekend he was playing out towards the left, I don’t think that’s Paul’s best position.
“I think he wants to control play and he wants to dictate. He’s a player who can find passes, the way Carrick used to do.”