Manchester United have been given permission to seal the signing of Marc Cucurella with Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino seemingly willing to bend over backwards to let the Spanish star move to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have already spent around £170m this summer securing three signings in Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund. However, with the window due to slam shut at 11pm on Friday, manager Erik ten Hag still hopes to make two more signings.
His priorities, however, have shifted pretty dramatically in the last week. While he remains in the hunt for a new midfielder – and a deal for Sofyan Amrabat appears to edging ever closer after their chief rivals were priced out the hunt – Ten Hag is now turning his focus to signing a new left-back.
Prior to that, Ten Hag was expected to push through a deal to sign a new central defender. However, Harry Maguire’s refusal to join West Ham, together with a lack of other feasible options, means the England man will now stay. And with Jonny Evans also on the books, Ten Hag’s focus has now switched to left-back.
Indeed, that was one position United were seemingly well covered for going into the summer window. However, an injury to Luke Shaw, alongside the one currently keeping Tyrell Malacia on the sidelines, means United now no longer have a natural option there.
As a result, Manchester United were forced to play right-back Diogo Dalot there in Saturday’s dramatic 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest. However, his move across the backline does not offer United balance and, in Ten Hag’s own admission, also leaves them without cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back.
Man Utd given permission to sign Marc Cucurella
With just days left to find a fix, United have been linked with a number of surprise options.
Then on Sunday evening, another link – this time for Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic – also reared its head.
However, of the quartet, it seems a move for Cucurella appears most likely after Chelsea’s stance on his exit came to light.
The 25-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge last summer in a £65m move from Brighton. And while he featured 33 times for the Blues last season, he was unable to convince his critics he was worthy of the eye-watering fee.
Often asked to play as a left-sided centre-half as part of a three, Cucurella looked a shadow of the player who the season before had done so well under Graham Potter at the Amex.
This season, Cucurella appears to have slipped even further down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge. With stand-in club captain Ben Chilwell the undisputed first choice, new boss Pochettino has elevated youngster Ian Maatsen ahead of the Spaniard.
As a result, Fabrizio Romano has revealed talks have taken place between Chelsea and United over a deal for Cucurella.
“Manchester United and Chelsea spoke on Saturday about Marc Cucurella loan deal, as revealed,” Romano tweeted.
“Understand Chelsea are open to letting Cucurella leave on loan but only at their conditions (loan fee/salary coverage).
“It is up to United, as they’ve three options for new left-back.”
Man Utd learn costs needed to sign Chelsea man on loan
Now, according to Standard Sport, Pochettino has made it clear that he will not stand in Cucurella’s way. The player has reportedly been informed he is unlikely to see much game-time at Stamford Bridge this season and a move might be in everyone’s best interests.
The conditions for the deal means United will likely need to pay Chelsea a loan fee of around £6m – £8m to take Cucurella for the season. Furthermore, they will also need to cover the once-capped Spain international’s wages in full, which stand at £175,000 a week.
On that basis, the signing of Cucurella will likely cost the club a total of around £15m.
And while the deal is not exactly a cheap one, United will need to weigh up the pros and cons of his signing before pushing the deal through.
However, Chelsea’s stance does give them encouragement. And with Pochettino appearing to brutally tell Cucurella he will not game any minutes under him this season, the move does certainly look to be in the player’s best interests.