Man United step up pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt – sources

Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt, sources have told ESPN.

United have made contact with De Ligt’s representatives and an official approach to Bayern is expected soon.

The club have turned their attention to the Netherlands international, who is available from Bayern, after reaching an impasse in their talks with Everton over a deal for Jarrad Branthwaite.

United have already seen a bid of £43 million including add-ons rejected by Everton, who value the 22-year-old at around £70m.

Manager Erik ten Hag is keen to bring in at least one centre-back this summer to replace Raphaël Varane, who left Old Trafford on a free transfer at the end of the season. Sources have told ESPN that there is also interest in Lille‘s Leny Yoro and Marc Guéhi at Crystal Palace.

Real Madrid are leading the race to sign 18-year-old Yoro and Liverpool are also interested in Guehi, who has impressed for England at Euro 2024.

Signing at least one centre-back is a key part of United’s summer recruitment plan, as well as bringing in a striker and a central midfielder. United have followed De Ligt since his breakthrough at Ajax and were interested before he moved to Juventus in 2019.

He joined Bayern in 2022 but has slipped down the pecking order at the Allianz Arena. The Bundesliga giants signed Kim Min-Jae from Napoli last summer and are keen to bring in Germany international Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen before the start of the new season.

United are open to offers for Victor Lindelöf and Harry Maguire this summer. Fenerbahce are interested in Lindelof, who has a year left on his contract, but there has not yet been a formal approach to United.

The club remain in talks with Jonny Evans about a new contract. If Lindelof or Maguire leave, United will push to bring in two centre-backs, although the recruitment department are conscious that finances are tight and the squad needs another striker to replace Anthony Martial, who has left after the expiry of his contract.