Premier League

Man Utd target ‘increasingly agitated’ by lack of transfer progress

Matthijs De Ligt

Manchester United haven’t given up on trying to sign Jarrad Branthwaite but the Everton centre-back is reported to be growing nervous about a lack of progress in talks.

United had a £35m bid for Branthwaite rejected last month, with Everton holding out for a fee twice that amount. The club have been tipped to make a fresh offer, but attention in recent days seems to have turned to Matthijs de Ligt, who is more experienced and available for substantially less.

Bayern Munich, who have signed Hiroki Ito and want Jonathan Tah, are seemingly prepared to let De Ligt leave for as little as €50m (£42m). Formal talks have been taking place between the clubs and the Daily Mail has since reported that the Dutchman has indicated he wants to join United.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a Branthwaite pursuit. The Mail adds United want De Ligt as their new right centre-back, replacing the already departed Raphael Varane, but would still like Branthwaite to fill the left-sided role if they can raise funds through player sales.

Matthijs De Ligt

De Ligt looks increasingly likely to join from Bayern / Visionhaus/GettyImages

United are described as “unlikely” to go as high as the £70m that will get Everton to start listening and, even with another bid being considered, Branthwaite is said to be “increasingly agitated over the lack of movement in negotiations” in recent weeks.

The Old Trafford club still have Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to call on. But Martinez in particular had an injury-plagued 2023/24 and none of the trio were free of fitness problems, making strengthening defensively imperative ahead of the new campaign.

The arrival of Dan Ashworth as sporting director following several months of gardening leave could spark United into action in the transfer market. The former Newcastle United official joins a new-look structure that already features technical director Jason Wilcox, with incoming chief executive Omar Berrada imminently starting work too. Ex-Chelsea technical director Christopher Vivell is also tipped to join on an initial short-term contract to assist with summer recruitment.

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