Arsenal and Man Utd placed on alert due to target’s ‘strained relationship’ with manager | Football | Sport

Manchester United and Arsenal may look to pounce as the future of Bayern Munich centre-back Matthijs de Ligt hangs in the balance. The 24-year-old has made just nine Bundesliga appearances this season having been plagued by a knee injury, while Thomas Tuchel currently favours the defensive partnership of Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min-jae.

And that’s led to a reported fall-out between player and manager. According to German publication Sport Bild, the relationship between the pair is now ‘strained’, with De Ligt receiving no guarantees over his first-team place.

The news will have the two Premier League sides on red alert. United are scouring the market for a long-term replacement for Raphael Varane, after opting not to trigger an extension clause in the French international’s contract.

It means the former Real Madrid man is eligible to leave for free in the summer, having been heavily linked with a move back to the Bernabeu. Therefore, a January sale has not been ruled out so the Manchester club can recuperate at least part of the £34million fee they paid in 2021.

Furthermore, Dutch international De Ligt begun his career at Ajax, where he played for two seasons under Erik ten Hag. It’s a notion that will only serve to heighten speculation, with the manager having already signed a host of his former players from the Eredivisie.

Arsenal are also being linked with defensive reinforcements amid their stumbling Premier League title challenge. Mikel Arteta has already been hit by one hammer blow this season, with summer signing Jurrien Timber suffering an ACL injury on the opening day of the season, and is unlikely to play a part in the 2023/24 campaign.

De Ligt has already racked up a sizeable amount in transfer fees, having moved from Holland to Juventus in 2019 for £65million. He spent three seasons with the Old Lady before Bayern captured him for an initial price of £57million.

He made 43 club appearances in his first season in Bayern, helping Tuchel’s men retain their top flight title. It means De Ligt has already received a league winning medal in three different countries.

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