Erik ten Hag and Manchester United are planning to revamp the club’s defence in the summer, with plenty of turnover possible. After the club elected not to activate their option to extend his contract by a further year, Raphael Varane could leave as a free agent at the end of the season, as could 2023 signing Jonny Evans. Elsewhere, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are up for sale if the Red Devils receive appropriate offers.
United are looking into some high-profile deals for possible successors like Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt, Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo, but based on a recent report, they could also go after a hidden gem to form part of their long-term vision for their back four.
Man Utd in touch over Brighton-esque signing
According to Boca Juniors news outlet Planeta BJ, Manchester United have made contact over Aaron Anselmino. He’s caught the eye of the Premier League club, as well as other top sides in Europe, with his exploits so far.
Boca recently tied Anselmino down to a new contract, one that includes a release clause worth just under £16m, but there’s a provision in the deal that raises that sum beyond £20m for the final days of the transfer window. The goal may be to ensure that they don’t lose the player so late that they can’t replace him.
The Argentine club negotited these fresh terms on the back of losing left-back Valentin Barco to Brighton earlier this month. The Seagulls only had to pay £7.8m for his signature under an outdated clause, and Boca believed that fell well below his market value. Determined to avoid a repeat with Anselmino, they will insist on his new clause being met in full.
Anselmino’s breakthrough at Boca
18-year-old Anselmino has made five first-team appearances for Boca so far and they will hope there are many more to come. He earned his full debut in the cup against Racing Club in October and kept his place for the next fixture against Estudiantes before featuring against Newell’s Old Boys.
In the league, he played the whole second half of a 1-1 draw with Lanus in November, and then enjoyed a brief substitute outing versus Sarmiento. Having not made the matchday squad at all until that game against Lanus, he would be named on the bench for seven of his side’s last eight fixtures overall, which may be a preview of an ascension to a much more significant role next season.
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As mentioned above, Brighton have already signed a player from the Buenos Aires outfit this month, and this too would feel very much like a Seagulls-esque deal. In recent years, they’ve picked up players like Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo from South America and turned them into rising stars coveted by Liverpool and Chelsea.
While United’s business model wouldn’t revolve around selling Anselmino on for profit, it might be sensible to invest in talented players like him at source and save plenty of money further down the line, even if £20m might seem a little steep at first. Signed in tandem with a couple of the bigger names mentioned above, he could form part of an astute midfield rebuild at Old Trafford.