• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Ashworth plots £200m squad clearout at Manchester United

Ashworth Man United

Manchester United’s new Sporting Director Dan Ashworth has started his new role at Old Trafford as the club is gearing up for a busy summer of reshaping their squad ahead of the new season.

Ashworth aims to generate £200m in much-needed funds for new signings, intensifying efforts to both buy and sell players.

The Red Devils are plotting to offload seven players: Casemiro, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Christian Eriksen, Antony, Jadon Sancho, and Mason Greenwood. Ideally, United hopes to raise around £200m from their sales, increasing their total transfer budget to £250m, including the original £50m.

Whether Man United can sell all these players remains uncertain, but they are likely to take financial hits on some, particularly Antony, who cost £85m, and Sancho, who cost £73m.

The 20-time Premier League champions have made an initial bid of £35m plus £8m in add-ons to sign Everton and England centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite. With Everton demanding £70m, United is exploring a £55m move for Bayern Munich defender Matthijs De Ligt.

For the midfield, United is scouting for a new partner for Mainoo, with Brazil international Joao Gomes of Wolves and Benfica’s 19-year-old rising star Joao Neves on their radar. They are also pushing to sign Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Manuel Ugarte, with securing any of these players being a significant coup.

To ease the goalscoring burden on Rasmus Hojlund, United is focusing on Bologna’s Dutch striker Joshua Zirkzee, who has the potential to elevate his career in the Premier League.

All of United’s targets are young players with future potential and resale value, aiming to avoid past mistakes of paying huge sums for big names or inflated prices for unproven players.

United were already working on targets before agreeing on a compensation package with Newcastle for Ashworth. Now, with Ashworth, the planned squad overhaul can proceed more efficiently, as Erik ten Hag and his players return for pre-season training next week.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s admission that major improvements will take “two or three summer windows” highlights the significant challenge facing the new regime at Old Trafford. This summer marks the first transfer window under Ratcliffe and his newly assembled football operations team, which includes Ashworth, technical director Jason Wilcox, and new CEO Omar Berrada, who starts next week.

Realism is required for this summer’s window, as outlined by Ratcliffe, with United constrained by the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR). Historically, United have spent hundreds of millions in summer windows, but the current budget is around £50m due to PSR limitations.

United must supplement their initial budget with revenue from player sales. Ashworth and his team are focusing on outgoings and incomings, aiming to secure as many sales as possible before the squad’s US tour on July 24. Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial, and Brandon Williams have already left, but their departures generated no revenue since they left when their contracts expired. Therefore, United plans to sell several more players to raise funds, prioritizing upgrades in three positions: centre-back, midfielder, and striker.

United are open to offers for most of their squad, except for Andre Onana, Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho, Rasmus Hojlund, and Amad Diallo. They might even consider a substantial offer for captain Bruno Fernandes, though he is expected to stay and sign a new deal.