Man Utd at risk of being frozen out of ‘world-best’ youngest defender as Barcelona propose transfer swap deal
As the transfer deadline approaches, Erik ten Hag is exploring the market for a new right-back, but Barcelona, along with Borussia Dortmund, might deal the Manchester United manager a significant blow.
Barcelona has proposed a swap deal involving two of Erik ten Hag’s targets, endangering his prospects of signing a new right-back for Manchester United.
Sergio Dest is said to have been offered to Borussia Dortmund in exchange for Thomas Meunier, both of whom have been linked with moves to Old Trafford this summer. Following the failure to sign Cesar Azpilicueta, Barcelona is thought to have identified Meunier as the next viable replacement for Dest, whom Xavi Hernandez is willing to offload but has yet to find a buyer for.
Dest, a 21-year-old American international, has spent two years at Camp Nou after earning his stripes at Ajax under Ten Hag. Meanwhile, Meunier departed PSG for Dortmund in the summer of 2020 and was a target for Barcelona as early as January, according to Sport.
According to the source, Xavi sees Meunier as a helpful addition to his team because the 30-year-old Belgian has the comparable personality to Chelsea captain Azpilicueta despite being five inches taller. According to reports, Camp Nou officials visited Meunier early this year, but the attacking-minded full-back was compelled to explain why Dortmund had rejected Barcelona’s offer, which was less than the €15 million (£12.6 million) asking price.
Dest, on the other hand, has never been a target for Dortmund, giving United some hope that the Bundesliga side will reject the offer and instead hold out for a sum for Meunier. Ten Hag would prefer to add any right-back to his squad in order to provide Diogo Dalot with consistent competition in the absence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Wan-Bissaka appeared in the Red Devils’ 2-1 win over Liverpool on Monday but is still available for transfer. Crystal Palace has been linked with a £10 million move, which would be one-fifth of what United paid the Eagles for his services in 2019.
Ten Hag has remained tight-lipped on transfer business, but sources suggest that the final week of the summer market might be hectic at Old Trafford. What the Red Devils manager has revealed is how he selects a target after completing the signing of Casemiro in a huge deal costing up to £60 million. “It starts with the basics,” Ten Hag told manutd.com.
“[You must be] dependable, driven, and motivated – highly motivated. You should want to battle and bring it every day on the practice field. You want to bolster the squad. You are a cohesive club, a unified squad, and most importantly, you are poised to win.”