Manchester United told to PAY MORE for KEY defensive target

Man United

Manchester United have been told that it will take more than £50 million to land their key defensive target this summer. 

The Red Devils, who endured a miserable 2023/24 season where they finished in eighth position, are in the market for defensive reinforcements as they look to return to the top in Erik ten Hag’s third season. 

Chief among their key targets this summer is Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite. The Englishman was one of the best performers for the Toffees last season. The 22-year-old made 35 appearances for Sean Dyche’s side last season, scoring three times as they finished above the relegation zone.

His form has attracted United, who are looking for an energetic young defender to man their leaky defence that conceded over 80 goals in all competitions last season. After seeing their initial bid for Branthwaite rejected, the Old Trafford club reportedly tabled a second bid of £45m plus £5m in add-ons for the Englishman.

However, Daily Mail claims that even the £50million offer isn’t enough for Everton, who want closer to £70m for Branthwaite. Per the report, United are prepared to give the Englishman a long-term contract worth £160,000 per week and will be forced to make at least a third offer for him. 

Apart from Branthwaite, United are also interested in Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt and Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee. The Red Devils are also keen on signing a defensive midfielder in this window, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Manuel Ugarte high on the list of targets.

But, Erik ten Hag’s side will have to sell players to balance the books and comply with Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules. Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood are among the first players they could sell as they attempt to raise enough money to drive their summer business, which includes signing Branthwaite.

What Top Six Football Thinks

Defence was one of the major weaknesses of Manchester United last season, with their record of 85 goals last season, which is the most they have conceded in over 50 years. Having lost Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans, two members of their defensive setup last season, getting Branthwaite is a no-brainer for Man United.

The Everton man is a solid defender and has proven himself in the Premier League. He averaged more ball recoveries and blocked shots than many of United’s defensive options. So, should he join the Old Trafford side, he will be a sure starter.

But the £70 million quoted for Branthwaite is excessive. Undoubtedly, the 22-year-old will be a huge upgrade to Erik ten Hag’s current options, but we believe that he is not worth £70 million.

Given that United is low on funds, they can’t afford to overpay for another player who has been guilty of doing so for the lies of Casemiro, Anthony, Rasmus Hojlund, and Mason Mount.

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