Manchester United are planning a huge squad rebuild this summer following a disappointing Premier League season where they can’t finish higher than sixth.
A number of high-profile names have already been linked with the club, but incoming manager Erik ten Hag may not want to spend the majority of the transfer budget on a single player.
The onus will be on doing smart business with signings that can ideally fit his tactical philosophy. Considering this, we look at five possible under-the-radar transfer targets for the Red Devils.
Sasa Kalajdzic – Stuttgart
The Austria international netted 16 Bundesliga goals during the 2020/21 campaign, but has not been able to replicate the showing this season amid a long-term injury.
A shoulder dislocation in August last year kept him out for the first half of the season. On his comeback, he has bagged six goals and two assists from 15 games.
While his statistics are not overly impressive, the 24-year-old has caught the eye of the Red Devils with his excellent aerial prowess. He stands at 200 cm (6’7″) tall.
United have made contact with the agent of the €20 million-rated star, but face stiff competition from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.
Enzo Fernandez – River Plate
Before Erik ten Hag’s appointment was confirmed, United were already in a scouting mission for the Argentine. They watched him in action against Fortaleza in mid-April.
The 21-year-old made the best use of the opportunity, scoring with a stunning shot from the edge of the box. Since then, there has not been much speculation until now.
The youngster has had a terrific year with eight goals and five assists from 18 games. He has also impressed defensively with an average of nearly two tackles per appearance.
Fernandez has a release clause of just €20 million in his deal. United will be in the mix, but may have to ward off interest from Manchester City, who signed his teammate Julian Alvarez in January.
Hugo Ekitike – Reims
The young Frenchman was heavily linked with a Premier League move in January. He was touted to join Newcastle United, but a deal failed to materialise on deadline day.
United have now entered the race to sign the 19-year-old, who has registered 10 goals and five assists from 26 outings. He recently missed two months of action with a hamstring injury.
The teenager has been tipped for a big future ahead, and has already drawn comparisons with Kylian Mbappe for his pace, dribbling ability and versatility on the playing field.
If United were to sign him, he could be a long-term prospect rather than someone, who can make an instant impact. Amid financial issues, Reims could sell him for just €15 million.
Goncalo Inacio – Sporting Lisbon
The 20-year-old is regarded as one of the best upcoming centre-backs in Portugal. In the current season, he has registered five goals and three assists from 45 matches.
He is not a tough tackler by any means with 1.4 tackles per game, but has impressed with his strong concentration. He has averaged more than two clearances per appearance.
However, his main strength has been his ball-playing ability. Inacio has completed 91 per cent of his passes this term. Him being left-footed could be a factor behind United’s recent interest.
A left-footed centre-back is something that United have lacked within the squad. Unlike other targets, Inacio won’t come cheaply with Sporting holding out for his €45m buy-out clause.
Nordi Mukiele – RB Leipzig
Mukiele has been fancied to leave Leipzig this summer, having turned down a new deal beyond June 2023. There will certainly be interest after another productive season in Bundesliga.
The Frenchman has generally played at right-back or right wing-back for Leipzig this season, but can also operate as a central defender. He has managed seven goal contributions.
In comparison, United right-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot have not registered a single goal or an assist. The 24-year-old would be a solid upgrade on the duo for next season.
Mukiele could be available for €10m. Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern and Atletico Madrid are also interested in him. Ralf Rangnick could be key to luring him to Old Trafford, having managed him previously.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and WhoScored.com
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