Transfers

JUST In: Sir Jim Ratcliffe can make £69m transfer statement at Man Utd with ‘best defender’ Real Madrid star has faced

Manchester United is gearing up for substantial investment in the upcoming summer, with manager Erik ten Hag expressing a keen interest in reinforcing the defensive lineup.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the INEOS chief and incoming investor, aims to make comprehensive improvements at Manchester United, with a specific focus on on-field performance.

Despite previously labeling United as ‘dumb money,’ Ratcliffe now has the opportunity to reshape that perception once his investment is officially approved.

While he will hold a minority share, he is expected to assume full control over footballing operations.

While investments in Old Trafford and Carrington facilities are anticipated, the true assessment will come during the summer transfer window, emphasizing United’s transfer activities.

Identifying key positions for enhancement, Erik ten Hag has prioritized bolstering the central defense.

Presently, three out of five center-back options are aged 30 or above, with uncertainties surrounding their future.

Jonny Evans and Raphael Varane face contract expirations, and Harry Maguire was reportedly available for sale throughout the previous summer.

To address this, Ten Hag seeks to rejuvenate the defense by lowering the age profile while elevating the overall quality.

Recent reports suggest that United has inquired about Ronald Araujo, with Bayern Munich also expressing interest.

However, a mid-season departure from Barcelona seems unlikely, and any potential suitors will need to meet a €80 million (approximately £69 million) valuation.

Araujo, aged 24, has established himself as a world-class defender, playing a pivotal role in Barcelona’s La Liga triumph last season.

His continued influence is evident as Barcelona contends for another title, and his defensive prowess is highly valued by Uruguay’s national team under Marcelo Bielsa. The endorsement from Vinicius Jr., who considers Araujo the best defender he has faced, further attests to his exceptional skills.

Vinicius Jr. praised Araujo’s strength and quality, emphasizing why he plays for Barcelona. While Araujo’s future at Barcelona remains uncertain, United faces competition for his signature, with Bayern Munich already informed of the £69 million price tag.

As other clubs may join the race for Araujo, the summer transfer window will likely witness heightened interest.

Backed by Ratcliffe’s financial support and the expertise of his potential hires, United aims to be in a strong position to secure Araujo’s services.

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