Man Utd offer five-year contract to ‘priority’ summer target after private talks with Erik ten Hag

Erik ten Hag has engaged in ‘several’ phone conversations with one of Manchester United’s top transfer targets, according to reports, as talks continue over a potential move.

United have made signing a new centre-back their priority this summer.

Much to the annoyance of co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Premier League club were blocked from making a move for OGC Nice centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo, who impressed in Ligue 1 last season.

Jarrad Branthwaite was another target and although the Everton and England defender is reportedly keen on joining the ranks at Old Trafford, it appears there could be a significant sticking point in negotiations.

Now, after much speculation around their hunt for a new centre-back, it appears a move for Netherlands international Matthijs de Ligt is very much in the pipeline.

United are said to have tabled a five-year contract proposal for the Bayern Munich centre-back, according to a report from Dutch publication De Telegraaf, who claim De Ligt is ‘awaiting an agreement between both clubs’.

In addition to those claims, Erik ten Hag has already spoken to De Ligt on numerous occasions over the phone.

United view the player as an ‘increasingly viable candidate’ to improve their back line. The 24-year-old centre-back, who joined Bayern from Juventus in 2022 for £68 million, made 16 starts for the Bundesliga outfit last season.

The German club want around £59 million for the player this summer, according to Bild’s Christian Falk, although United are only prepared to fork out around £30 million.

De Lift, meanwhile, is a huge fan of Ten Hag. Back in 2022, after the former Ajax boss took over at Old Trafford, he backed his old manager to succeed in Manchester.

“He is someone who loves his job and he loves to work,” said De Ligt. “He’s really into the details. This makes him a really good trainer.

“He has a lot of qualities (to succeed). He definitely improves players. He wants to do everything to make his team play better.”

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