While Manchester United are looking at potential new recruits to ensure they’re in good health ahead of a return to the Champions League, the club also needs to trim some of the fat from its squad.
The Red Devils are expected to spend this summer to build a squad capable of challenging on multiple fronts, but their power in the market can still be boosted if they receive extra funds for players with no obvious part to play in the long term.
Here’s the latest on the ins and outs, including a potential exit for one of United’s many loanees and an update on a long-term target.
United set Roma deadline to meet Smalling asking price
Chris Smalling is something of a forgotten man at Old Trafford, having spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Roma, but the centre-back has impressed enough in Italy to prompt talk of a permanent move.
The main sticking point, though, appears to be United’s valuation of the former Fulham man: they want €21million (£20m) for Smalling, according to Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness), and a failure to come to an agreement before Monday would see the defender return to Manchester and sit out the remainder of Roma’s Europa League run.
Monday is the deadline for clubs to name their squads for the resumption of European competition, and clubs can update their squads as long as the players named were eligible to play for them before February 3 (per uefa.com ).
This means loanees whose moves have since been made permanent will be eligible, but summer signings will not.
According to reports in Italy, Roma value the England international at €15m and have six days to find the extra €6m to meet United’s asking price.
‘Contact made’ over PSG’s Gueye
Manchester United have made contact with Paris Saint-Germain over midfielder Idrissa Gueye, according to reports in France.
The former Everton and Aston Villa midfielder joined PSG for £30m last summer, and made 19 starts as Thomas Tuchel’s team retained their title.
However, with some fringe players put up for sale by the Parisiens, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are reportedly keen to test the water.
According to Le10Sport, via the Express, United have inquired about the Senegal international, who is also on the radar of Wolves.
However, Gueye recently said “there has never been the question of a departure or a transfer” in his discussions with PSG sporting director Leonardo, so something would need to have changed for a United switch to be a realistic option.
The Red Devils handed defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic a contract extension earlier this month, while fellow holding midfield options Fred and Scott McTominay are both under contract until at least 2023.
Grealish ‘has heart set on Old Trafford move’
Manchester United target Jack Grealish remains keen on a move to the club after helping Aston Villa retain their Premier League status.
That’s according to former United striker Michael Owen, who told Premier League Productions: “I’m told he has his heart set on Manchester United. I’d be surprised if he went anywhere else.”
Owen added: “It would have been an easier decision if they went down. You can’t have someone like that playing in the Championship.
“He’s a top player, he would suit an awful lot of teams; he’s exceptional.”
Grealish scored 10 goals this season, the best return of his career, and rounded off the season by scoring a goal at West Ham which helped secure a 17th-place finish for the Villans.
Villa owner Nassef Sawiris has reportedly set an asking price of £80m for the club captain, who is under contract until 2023.
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