Manchester United have four defenders on their transfer shortlist ahead of the summer and might offload four players of their own to fund deals, according to reports. The Red Devils have ambitions to overhaul a defence which has conceded 47 goals in just 30 matches across all competitions.
Erik ten Hag’s backline has badly struggled this year, though United have been hampered by injuries. They conceded 63 times in 62 matches last season but on current form are on course to concede 51 times in 38 Premier League outings alone this term.
And ESPN report that as they draw up their plans for the summer, United are ready to transform their defence once INEOS’ 25 per cent investment into the club is officially green-lighted. There are four members of Ten Hag’s squad who could be axed.
Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans are both out of contract and are poised to leave on free transfers once the season is over. While the Premier League giants will not receive transfer fees for either, Varane, 29, is one of their highest-earning players on approximately £340,000 a week.
His exit will free up funds to be used on new players. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire could also be sold, with it said United are open to significant offers. The pair cost the club around £16million combined per season in annual salaries.
And in their hopes of rebuilding the defence, United have shortlisted three centre-backs and a right-back. Everton’s England under-21 international Jarrad Branthwaite is one of them. The 21-year-old has started 18 of the Toffees’ 21 league matches this term.
Bayern Munich’s Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, who Ten Hag worked with at Ajax, is also admired. The 24-year-old is not a guaranteed starter for Bayern despite the Bundesliga champions spending up to £68m to buy him from Juventus in the summer of 2022.
The third centre-half is Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo. The Frenchman, also linked with Tottenham previously, is well known to the incoming Sir Jim Ratcliffe who also owns Nice. The 24-year-old has impressed in Ligue 1 since joining from Barcelona three years ago.
While United already have Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back, they also like Galatasaray’s Sacha Boey. The Frenchman, 23, has been the No. 1 player in his position for the Turkish giants the last two seasons and is also liked by the Red Devils’ rivals Arsenal.
ESPN add that Ratcliffe and co. will pay particular attention to players whose contracts expire in the summer of 2025. They snagged Mason Mount from Chelsea last summer as he entered the final year of his contract and hope to do similar deals again later this year.
Ten Hag is not expected to make any signings before the January transfer window closes however. United have instead only agreed a number of outgoings.
They cancelled Sergio Reguilon’s loan from Spurs and have sent Hannibal Mejbri (Sevilla), Donny van de Beek (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) and Alvaro Fernandez (Benfica) out on loan.