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5 gone, 6 to sell, 4 to buy: Erik ten Hag’s transfer masterplan for Manchester United

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Man United are set for a busy summer with several outgoings and incomings expected ahead of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.

The process has already started with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard due to leave on free transfers next month.

With their departures, United will save around £46.5 million in annual wages. The first-team squad could be trimmed further as part of the rebuild.

New United manager Erik ten Hag is reportedly happy to work with a lean squad next season with the focus on more character, leadership and cohesion.

Who could United sell this summer?

It is quite clear that United are looking to reinforce a couple of key positions in their defence. A new central defender and right-back could be among the priorities for Ten Hag this summer.

This could coincide with a few departures. Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe appear the first in line to head for the exit door with the decision made to sell them, as per Fabrizio Romano.

Alongside the duo, Phil Jones could end his decade-long stay at the club. The centre-back has already dropped a hint that he could pursue a fresh challenge in the quest for regular football.

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka is another defender, who could be on his way out. Ten Hag has reportedly made the decision to keep Diogo Dalot. Wan-Bissaka could make way for a new right-back.

Apart from the quartet, Anthony Martial’s future with United seems to be uncertain. His more languid style of play may not go well with Ten Hag, who gives preference to high work rate.

The attacker was a regular on the bench during his short stint under Ralf Rangnick before being loaned out in January. We don’t see him settling for a similar role under the new head coach.

Dean Henderson could likewise push for a new challenge, having played second fiddle to goalkeeper David de Gea. The latter seems unlikely to be displaced after a fantastic individual season.

United are reluctant to lose Henderson without a replacement. Karl Darlow and Daniel Bachmann are being considered by the club, but promoting Tom Heaton as the number two has not been ruled out.

Four potential transfer targets for United

Since the arrival of Ten Hag, there has been plenty of speculation linking the club with Ajax players. Among them, centre-back Jurrien Timber has been frequently linked over the past three weeks.

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Ten Hag played a key role in his development at the Eredivisie outfit over the last two years, and a reunion could be on the cards this summer, provided he is guaranteed regular playing time.

Aside from a central defender, a new right-back could be prioritised after Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot failed to register a single goal contribution (goal or an assist) over the entire 2021/22 season.

RB Leipzig’s Nordi Mukiele has been touted as a possible target. The Frenchman, who can also play as a central defender, managed seven goal involvements for the Bundesliga outfit last term.

With his contract expiring in 12 months’ time, he could be available for as little as €10 million. Rangnick apparently recommended him. United could pursue his services regardless of the German’s exit.

Meanwhile, a defensive midfielder and striker are also expected to be signed. Scott McTominay and Fred impressed in phases last term, but neither were consistent enough with their midfield displays.

Fred’s creative presence during the backend of last season could see him play a key role under Ten Hag, but the Brazilian needs better defensive cover than what McTominay has offered in recent years.

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Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong appears the prime target for now. The Dutchman is hesitant to leave Barcelona and also prefers to play in the Champions League. United still seem intent on landing him.

If the door opens for a transfer, the Red Devils appear front-runners. They are optimistic of taking advantage of Barcelona’s financial concerns to sign De Jong, who possesses excellent ball control and distribution.

In recent weeks, there has been only one striker in Darwin Nunez linked with the club. He has opened the door to joining Ten Hag’s revolution at Old Trafford despite the lack of Champions League football.

However, a deal may not be straightforward. They need to convince Benfica with their transfer proposal. The Portuguese side are eyeing €105m for Nunez, but United have reportedly offered €75m up front.

With a 20 per cent sell-on fee owed to Almeria, Benfica seem reluctant to accept United’s opening proposal that includes €20m in add-ons and Andreas Pereira joining them on loan. A better proposal is required to convince them.

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Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report

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As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

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The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

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Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

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Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m

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Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

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For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

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To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

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Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

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With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

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The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

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His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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