Manchester United are sixth in the Premier League after 24 games, six points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. Erik ten Hag’s team next face Luton Town on Sunday (February 18) in the league.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils are the favourites to sign Bayern Munich centre-back Matthijs de Ligt this summer. Elsewhere, the Premier League giants have an advantage in the race to sign Nice midfielder Khephren Thuram.
On that note, here’s a look at the key Manchester United transfer stories as on February 13, 2024:
Manchester United leading Matthijs de Ligt race
The Red Devils are searching for defensive reinforcements ahead of the summer, amid the uncertainties surrounding the futures of Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, and Victor Lindelof. De Ligt is a long-term target for Ten Hag and is wanted at Old Trafford this year.
The Dutch defender has been in and out of the starting XI at Bayern this season, and his future remains up in the air. With Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min-jae the preferred choice at the back for Thomas Tuchel, De Ligt could leave this summer.
Arsenal also have their eyes on the 24-year-old, but Manchester United are leading the race for the player at the moment.
Red Devils have Khephren Thuram advantage
Manchester United have an advantage in the race to sign Khephren Thuram. According to Ligue 1 insider Jonathan Johnson, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival at Old Trafford puts the Premier League giants at the front of the line in the chase for the Frenchman. Interestingly, INEOS also own Thuram’s club Nice.
In his column for Caught Offside, Johnson named Arsenal and Liverpool as the 22-year-old’s other suitors.
“Arsenal are the latest club to be linked with Khephren Thuram as he continues to shine at Nice. He’s obviously someone who’s been of interest to a number of top European sides for some time, most notably Liverpool,” wrote Johnson.
“One thing that complicates a potential move to the Premier League now, however, is the link between Nice’s ownership INEOS and Manchester United under Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has purchased a minority stake there which is expected to grow in the coming years.”
Despite the advantage, Johnson warned that the Red Devils still have to qualify for Europe and offer Thuram attractive wages to get their man.
“So, now I think if there’s any interest in top talent at Nice, like Thuram, or like Jean-Clair Todibo, you’d probably expect them to go to Manchester United before you’d expect them to go to the likes of an Arsenal or a Liverpool,” wrote Johnson.
“There’s definitely interest in him, with PSG another name who’ve looked at him in the past, so he’s one to watch but the ownership link now probably puts Man United in the strongest position, assuming that they do qualify for Europe and can offer him a better overall wage package than he’s enjoying at Nice.”
Thuram has appeared 16 times across competitions for the French side this season, starting 13.
Erik ten Hag wants Lautaro Martinez
Erik ten Hag has set his sights on Lautaro Martinez, according to Fichajes. The Dutch manager is looking for a new No. 9 to share the goalscoring burden with Rasmus Hojlund and has identified Martinez as an option.
The Argentinean has been in inspired form for Inter Milan this season, plundering 22 goals and setting up five in 30 outings across competitions. Ten Hag is impressed by his efforts and has asked Manchester United to sign the 26-year-old.
However, the player’s price tag could be a major hurdle in the move. Martinez is reportedly valued at £94 million, as per Transfermarkt, and his contract with the Nerazzurri runs till 2026. The Red Devils may have to offload players before they can consider such an exorbitant deal.