Manchester United will try to sign five players before the transfer window closes including moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Meunier and Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic.
In what is becoming an increasingly frantic search United have also enquired about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but the striker currently intends to join Chelsea if he leaves Barcelona.
United have received encouragement in their £50million pursuit of Casemiro, with Real Madrid having made it clear that they will not stand in the midfielder’s way should he ask to leave.
At the same time United have finally been in contact with the representatives of Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Telegraph Sport revealed last week that the Serbian midfielder, long linked to United, was a potential target and would cost £42million.
United have declined the chance to make a bid for another Italy-based midfielder, Weston McKennie, with the American having been offered to them after their move for his Juventus team-mate, Adrien Rabiot, broke down over his wage demands despite a £15million fee being agreed. United are primarily looking for a ‘number six’ holding midfielder and McKennie does not fit that profile.
Manager Erik ten Hag is pushing for up to five players to be signed before the end of the month after United’s disastrous start to the season. They still maintain their bid of up to £72million for Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong remains on the table – and has been agreed with the Spanish club – but it is looking increasingly likely he will stay although deciding his future may go down to transfer deadline day. If De Jong does leave them Chelsea are the favourites to sign him.
Ideally United want two midfielders, a second-choice goalkeeper, a right-back and a forward to add to Ten Hag’s squad with fears that they are struggling to land their targets. Instead there appears to be a dizzying number of names ‘in play’.
United are hoping to sell or loan Aaron Wan-Bissaka with Crystal Palace, the defender’s former club, emerging as a possibility to sign them. It is believed Palace may be willing to pay £10million for the 24-year-old although that would represent a huge and embarrassing loss to United who signed Wan-Bissaka for £50million in 2019 on a five-year deal.
However Wan-Bissaka does not feature in Ten Hag’s plans and a loan deal might be another option as he attempts to relaunch his career. Ten Hag has told the club he wants another right-back to compete with Diogo Dalot who has started the season in the team.
It is understood that a fee of around 15million euros (£12.6million) has been proposed for Meunier who has been linked with a move to Barcelona. It remains to be seen whether Dortmund will sell this month. The Belgium international is 30 and highly-experienced and has a contract with the German club that runs until 2024 having joined from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after his contract expired two years ago.
United have not yet made an offer but Meunier appears to be a more likely target than Sergino Dest although the American international, who has been told he can leave Barcelona this summer, is also on their list. Ironically United considered a move for Meunier before signing Wan-Bissaka while Dortmund wanted Dalot to replace Meunier.
United are also attempting to persuade Chelsea to let them take Christian Pulisic on loan.
Although Chelsea will allow Pulisic to leave the club would prefer to sell the American international who has grown increasingly frustrated at his lack of opportunities at Stamford Bridge.
Although Pulisic, who was signed from Dortmund for £58million in 2019, would be open to a move to United, it remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea would sanction a temporary deal. The 23-year-old winger is the US captain and is anxious to ensure he plays enough before the forthcoming World Cup but is not central to Thomas Tuchel’s plans at Chelsea.
Pulisic came off the bench for Chelsea’s first two Premier League games but the arrival of Raheem Sterling and with the club bidding £45million for Anthony Gordon it means he is even less likely to be a starter this season and has not hidden his frustration.
Although there is widespread scepticism as to why Casemiro would want to leave Madrid it is understood he is interested in hearing about United’s offer and not least because his first-team chances are likely to be reduced this season following the arrival of Aurelien Tchouameni for £67.5million. Casemiro was on the bench last week with 22-year-old Tchouameni starting in Madrid's opening La Liga fixture.
Casemiro, who has a contract with Madrid until 2025, has a good relationship with president Florentino Perez and it is thought the club will not block his move if that is what he asks for. Sources suggest that having won it all in Spain for several years the 30-year-old Brazilian might be willing to accept a new challenge especially if he is offered a lucrative enough contract by United.