Premier League

The two main reasons why Man Utd have moved for Matthijs de Ligt

The two main reasons why Man Utd have moved for Matthijs de Ligt

Manchester United’s decision to pursue a move for Matthijs de Ligt stems from their desire to sign two centre-backs this summer, 90min understands, in addition to a potential transfer being far more affordable than they thought possible.

The Red Devils had previously discarded a move for De Ligt amid concerns over how much Bayern Munich would demand to part ways with the Dutchman.

United had instead been eyeing Nice’s Jean Clair-Todibo and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, believing prospective transfers would be far more economical, while Lille’s Leny Yoro, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Max Kilman were also discussed. Tosin Adarabioyo was also a target after leaving Fulham on a free transfer but he ended up signing for Chelsea instead despite a late United hijack attempt.

But with UEFA effectively blocking a move for Todibo because of INEOS’ ownership of Nice and both clubs playing in the Europa League, Everton unwilling to accept less than £70m for Branthwaite, and Yoro seemingly destined for Real Madrid, the goalposts have moved in the north west.

Formal talks are underway between United and Bayern over a deal for De Ligt, with the 13-time Premier League winners expected to offer a package similar to one they offered Everton for Branthwaite – £35m potentially rising to £43m with various add-ons. That’s a figure United chiefs feel will get a deal done and sources state their starting point for discussions has even been slightly lower.

Bayern are looking to receive a fee of around £45m (€53m) for De Ligt – marking a significant loss on what was paid to Juventus in July 2022 – but are willing to sell as they prepare to usher in a new era under the management of Vincent Kompany.

De Ligt, who has three years remaining on his contract, is on relatively high wages at Bayern but United would be able to accommodate him within the pay structure at Old Trafford and the 24-year-old could even take a pay cut. 

United want to bring in another centre-back alongside De Ligt to offset the departure of Raphael Varane, which has left Lisandro Martinez, who has struggled with injuries, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and 19-year-old academy graduate Willy Kambwala as the only options available to manager Erik ten Hag.

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