The Peoples Person
·10 June 2023
The Peoples Person
·10 June 2023
Manchester United may have just been handed a golden opportunity in their bid to retool Erik ten Hag’s squad ahead of next season, with FC Barcelona putting two long term targets up for sale.
According to The Telegraph, United are targeting a striker, two midfielders and, somewhat surprisingly, a left winger. The Peoples Person has previously examined why the latter position could need stocking, despite a number of players in the squad already being comfortable in the role.
And, according to Spanish publication Sport, Barcelona are looking to sell both Franck Kessie and Ansu Fati during this month.
Both players are due to be informed that they will not be getting minutes next season due to a decision made by the club’s hierarchy.
Barca’s long-standing financial difficulties are thought to have come to a head, and with the La Liga champions determined to make high profile signings anyway, the decision has been made to move players on swiftly.
Kessie, reportedly available for €35m, started just 16 matches last season, with Xavi’s midfield well staffed with the likes of Pedri, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong, and departing veteran Sergio Busquets all preferred over the Ivorian. The midfielder was solid when called upon but would surely have imagined he would be playing more football after moving to Camp Nou as a free agent last summer.
United were also linked with a move at the time, but ended up signing Christian Eriksen and Casemiro, to say nothing of their blinkered pursuit of Kessie’s current teammate, Frenkie de Jong.
As an energetic midfielder capable of pressing high up the pitch while providing a goal threat, the Ivory Coast star could be considered a budget alternative to Mason Mount, who risks being priced out of a move by Chelsea.
Ansu Fati, meanwhile, has been linked with a switch to Old Trafford throughout the season. His gametime has been limited by Barcelona’s signing of Raphinha from Leeds United, the resurgence of Ousmanne Dembele, and Xavi’s midseason tactical switch to using only one winger.
Still just 20, Fati was considered one of the brightest talents in world football only a year ago, and indispensable to the future of the Catalan giants. Now he could be leaving for €35m.
A lack of playing time has seen the Spaniard linked with a move to the Premier League again in recent weeks, with reports suggesting that a shock move to Wolverhampton Wanderers is on the cards. Given his undoubted potential, one could easily imagine Ansu Fati using Wolves as a stepping stone to a bigger club after some regular football.
But Manchester United have the chance to cut out the middle man and snatch up the winger while his value is at its lowest. Erik ten Hag has a penchant for rehabilitating talents others may have deemed to have stagnated, and – if he does want an additional winger – Fati is the Dutchman’s type of player.
€70m to cross off half of Ten Hag’s summer wishlist certainly seems like a no-brainer, and would free up serious funds to recruit a striker and playmaking midfielder. As things stand, United seem to be pursuing other targets.
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