Jarrad Branthwaite signs, Joao Neves battle – Manchester United’s dream XI next season

Transfer speculation surrounding Manchester United has intensified with Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite reportedly close to agreeing to a move to Old Trafford.

Uncertainty over Erik ten Hag’s future as manager disappeared after the club showed their faith in the Dutchman, despite links with numerous successors after their FA Cup final win over Manchester City.

United face a crucial transfer window this summer as they look to improve upon their eighth place finish in the Premier League. Their triumph in the domestic cup salvaged the campaign as they secured European football next season, booking their place in the Europa League. Several key areas have been pinpointed by recruitment bosses in Manchester including central defence and a forward player.

The Liverpool ECHO reported on Friday that United launched an audacious bid in the region of £38million for the defender, which is set to be rejected. Reports emerged this week that personal terms had already been agreed with the 21-year-old and The Times reported that the Toffees defender could earn in the region of £160,000-per-week.

Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt has been linked as a possible alternative to the recent England debutant. Ten Hag knows the centre-back well from their time together at Ajax and reports in Germany have surfaced this week that the Bavarians could look to off-load the 24-year-old. The possibility of his departure could have intensified after Vincent Kompany’s side added Hiroki Ito to the fold with further links to Bundesliga champion Jonathan Tah.

United have also been name-checked as a team in the race to sign Benfica starlet Joao Neves. However, they’re not alone in the race for the talent, it has been reported, with Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain among the clubs interested but the sticking point is likely to be his eye-watering €100million (£84m) price-tag. A move for the 19-year-old would be a marker of intent from United as they look to re-establish themselves on the international stage after suffering a decline in recent years.

It became obvious that goalscoring was a problem for United last season during a period when Marcus Rashford’s struggles coincided with Rasmus Hojlund’s profligacy in front of goal. With the departure of Anthony Martial, who’s contract will expire at the end of June, there is an added desire to bolster forward options at Old Trafford.

Michael Olise has been credited as a player of interest at the Theatre of Dreams after his eye-catching performances for Crystal Palace. United got a first-hand look at the Frenchman’s qualities when he was instrumental in Palace’s 4-0 win over United at Selhurst Park during a strong finish to the campaign for Oliver Glasner’s side. United will face competition for his signature and Chelsea have seemingly stolen a march for the talented winger after The Athletic reported that the West London club made contact with the club over a move.

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