Manchester United are being backed to launch a surprise summer raid on Leeds United with Erik ten Hag tipped to take the plunge on signing the star as a replacement for a fading force at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are licking their wounds after an embarrassing 5-2 aggregate loss to Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals. Having already won the Carabao Cup this season, UEFA’s second-tier tournament offered United with a big opportunity win more silverware this season.
However, after blowing a 2-0 lead in the first leg, Sevilla resoundly beat them 3-0 in the return this week.
The result has certainly tempered belief that United can challenge for the game’s major honours next season. Furthermore, it also serves as a timely reminder for Ten Hag that his squad still needs major surgery this summer.
To that end, the Manchester United boss is reportedly planning to make at least three major summer signings.
First up, Ten Hag is eyeing a new big-name striker to lead the line. Wout Weghorst will be sent on his way after an underwhelming loan spell.
The Red Devils boss is also in the market for new defenders too, with a right-back and a centre-half on his shopping list.
In addition, he also wants fresh blood brought into his midfield with a classy partner for also being Casemiro sought.
However, United do have to be careful about the money they spent and Financial Fair Play. To that end – and in order to balance the books – the club are reportedly looking to offload a number of players this summer.
Ten Hag ready to move for Leeds star Illan Meslier
And with reports that as many as 15 players could be moved on, it seems Ten Hag is ready for another big summer at Old Trafford.
One of the big-name departures on that list is goalkeeper David De Gea. The Spaniard is now in his 12th season at the club, having clocked up 535 appearances.
However, with his deal due to expire this summer he could be allowed to leave.
Indeed, talks over an extension – which have seen the player offered a serious markdown on his current £375,000 a week wages – have so far failed to see an agreement reached.
And should they let him leave, it will leave Ten Hag considering who best to sign as United’s new No 1.
To that end, a host of names have been linked with the club. Indeed, the likes of Yassine Bounou, Mike Maignan and Andre Onana are just three of the names recently linked.
However, former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore reckons it is Leeds United‘s Illan Meslier they should turn to.
The France Under-21 star has suffered a turbulent time of late, shipping 11 goals in last two games. That record includes a run of 10 goals conceded from 10 shots he faced, before he finally made a save.
Collymore, though, is adamant that the 23-year-old is heading for the top. And while admitting it is something of a gamble, he thinks it is a move that could pay off.
Writing for Caught Offside, he said: “Obviously the likes of Meslier has had a very, very difficult season at Leeds but he’s still a baby. Would he be someone they’d look to develop?”
Meslier has also been linked with Tottenham, while reports also suggest a move to Chelsea could be on the cards.