Manchester United’s Champions League defeat to PSG has reportedly forced Ed Woodward to admit that their playing squad needs a major £350m overhaul.
Second half goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe condemned the Red Devils to a 2-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 clash– leaving interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to lament a massive gulf in class between the sides.
As a result, it’s claimed executive vice-chairman Woodward accepts that, in order to get United back among the higher echelons of the European elite, the club are – quite simply – going to need to throw a lot of money at it.
As such, Thursday’s papers have gone a little trigger happy in suggesting a list of transfer targets – with six star names apparently in their sights, as part of a £350m squad overhaul.
We’ll start with the Daily Mirror who claims that United ‘need a top central defender while they also could do with new full-backs on both sides, along with a right-sided midfielder’.
But the first name on their list remains the same: Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly, who would cost ‘close to £90m’.
They are also considering moves for Lucas Hernandez of Atletico Madrid and Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic, the latter ‘seen as the cheaper option of the two’.
Another position United need to reinforce is in central midfield, with Nemanja Matic playing all of the minutes and Scott McTominay no longer deemed good enough.
Tanguy Ndombele is thought to be one of their main targets, though Manchester City could yet throw a major spanner in the works after identifying the Frenchman as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. They ‘will compete’ with United and Juventus to sign the Lyon midfielder, and ‘are preparing a £70million bid’.
However, it was reported earlier in the week that United had already held successful talks with Ndombele’s agent and are in the driving seat to sign the player.
So Koulibaly will cost £90m, and Ndombele will move for £70m. But the rumours don’t stop there – with another £57m midfielder thrown into the mix.
According to Spanish newspaper Sport – and now picked up by Thursday’s tabloids – United are one of a number of clubs who have ‘enquired’ about Ivan Rakitic’s ‘situation’ at Barcelona. The imminent arrival of Frenkie de Jong, combined with a contract that expires in 2021 with no signs of an extension or improved wage, means the Croatian’s ‘future is in the air’.
Rakitic is ‘happy’ at Barca and would even ‘retire at Camp Nou if possible’, but ‘things could get tense’ after PSG offered to double his wages last summer. Barca have been unmoved however, refusing to enter contract negotiations, which, according to reports, means he could be shipped on this summer.
United are also said to be keen on pushing forward with their initial interest in young Benfica forward Joao Felix, who has an eye-watering €120m exit fee in his contract.
The player has also been watched by Liverpool and Wolves and it’s claimed United see the Portuguese youngster as a perfect replacement for Alexis Sanchez, who Solskjaer appeared to have little time for after Tuesday night’s disappointment.
It’s claimed United want to finance their major summer overhaul by trimming their squad of a few big names, with Juan Mata, the aforementioned Sanchez – and possibly even Paul Pogba (!)- set to be sacrificed.
Either way, it’s reported Woodward felt the defeat to PSG was something of an eye-opener and prompted United’s money man to release transfer funds to Solskjaer, or indeed, whoever their next permanent manager will be.
Get the latest personalised Red Devils products on our new TEAMtalk Man Utd shop!