Elite clubs across Europe are preparing to double-check their bank accounts ahead of launching into their summer recruitment drives.
But where will those two sharp-shooters, and other would-be movers, end up?
Either side of their Europa League final shootout defeat, Manchester United have been linked with both players, in addition to the likes of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane and long-standing target Jadon Sancho from German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
In the midst of financial complications brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, this could prove a tricky market to manoeuvre, but there are bargains to be had – as well as those big names.
Here are seven players that United could target who are coming towards the end of their contracts, are facing up to relegation or, generally, might just be available at a cut-price.
Andrea Belotti (Torino) – Although he was not right at the top of the goalscoring charts in Serie A this season, Belotti’s overall record for Torino reads 105 goals in 228 games. Heading into his peak at 27, the striker has been capped 33 times by Italy and has alerted the attention of Chelsea. According to reports, current club Torino would be willing to accept bids around the €25m mark for their talisman and captain. United were previously considering Belotti as an option, but are unlikely to revive that interest this summer.
Contact ends: 2022 – would command a fee (valued at £31.5m)
Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona) – It took a staggering €135m for Barcelona to lure the right-sided French winger from Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2017/2018 season. Although he hasn’t really set the world alight at the Nou Camp, Dembele has plenty of time on his side to fulfil that potential. Linked with United previously, the 23-year-old has also emerged as a possible signing for Chelsea, which would see him reunited with Thomas Tuchel.
Contract ends: 2022 – would command a fee (valued at £50m)
Which of these should United go for – or do you have any other suggestions? Tell us in the comments here.
Memphis Depay – While the 27-year-old former United forward struggled to make a telling impact during his first spell at Old Trafford, Depay is a much more accomplished player now, as indicated by an international return of 23 goals in 62 games. He was a shining light for Lyon this term – with 20 goals and 12 assists coming from his 35 Ligue 1 outings. A free transfer to Barcelona seems almost certain, but the ink is yet to dry…
Contract ends: 2021 – free transfer
Gianluigi Donnarumma – Given the conundrum that faces Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this off-season, having displaced David de Gea with Dean Henderson after close to a decade as the club’s number one, it’s unlikely that United will make a move for a third party between the posts. Despite that, there will be plenty of suitors out there for the AC Milan stopper, who is regarded as one of the very best in the business. Juventus are leading the race.
Contract ends: 2021 – free transfer
Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach) – Similarly to a number of players on this list, the German centre-back, 27, has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge ahead of the summer transfer window. Perhaps it’s not too surprising given Tuchel’s connections to the Bundesliga. Standing at 6ft 3in, the towering defender featured against Manchester City in the Champions League earlier this term. Ginter has been capped 37 times by Germany.
Contract ends: 2022 – would command a fee (valued at £31.5m)
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Matheus Pereira (West Brom) – Even in a relegation campaign, Pereira made quite the impression in the Premier League, scoring 11 goals and laying on six assists. West Brom’s chances of retaining the services of the Brazilian are extremely slim. Predominantly a right-sided forward, which is an area of focus for United, his versatility has also seen him play as a centre-forward, on the left, as a second striker and as an attacking central midfielder.
Contract ends: 2024 – would command a fee (valued at £11.7m)
Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – La Liga giants Real are willing to sell him to United. Given that he is a World Cup winner, with bags of Champions League experience, he would certainly fit the bill when it comes to finding a fresh partner for £80m captain Harry Maguire. The only question is whether or not United could convince him to join, but the £40m fee mooted represents excellent value for money – if not strictly a ‘bargain’ in its truest sense.
Contract ends: 2022 – would command a fee (valued at £63m)