The Premier League transfer window will officially open next Wednesday, but this summer it’s more likely to be a gentle nudge to let some air in rather than a crash-bang-wallop opening.
The window opens on June 9, just two days before Euro 2020 begins – in 2021 – and this summer’s major tournament is likely to mean the really big deals are delayed for a little while.
Manchester United have plenty on their plate this summer but their key targets are all involved in the European Championship and once the tournament is underway deals will be on the backburner.
United are continuing to work on deals and scout targets, but access to players is going to be difficult during the tournament, especially one that is taking place across Europe.
We know United are focusing on central defence and right-wing, with Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho the top targets in those positions. Varane is in France’s squad this summer and Sancho with England.
They’ve also shown an interest in Villarreal centre back Pau Torres as an alternative to Varane, but he is with Spain during Euro 2020.
A right-back is also considered essential at Old Trafford this summer, to add competition for the overworked Aaron Wan-Bissaka. United have long held an interest in Bury-born Kieran Trippier and he could be ready to return to the North West after winning La Liga with Atletico Madrid, although he is also in the England squad this summer.
United also have an interest in two more members of England’s European Championship squad, in West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice and Harry Kane, who has made his desire to leave Tottenham clear.
While deals for Varane, who is out of contract at Real Madrid in a year, and Sancho, whose asking price has dropped by around £30million this summer, look easier to do, signing Rice and Kane will be much tougher. The Hammers midfielder still has three years remaining on his contract and after securing Europa League qualification West Ham United will not let him go cheaply. There is also considerable interest from Chelsea, Rice’s former club.
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Kane is determined to force his way out of Tottenham this summer, but it could take a fee of close to £150million to convince Daniel Levy to do a deal. Manchester City remain his most likely destination, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not rule out trying to sign a striker this summer.
There will be departures at Old Trafford as well this summer. Out of contract goalkeepers Sergio Romero and Lee Grant are both set to leave, with Tom Heaton due to return to United on a free transfer. If one of David de Gea or Dean Henderson leaves then another goalkeeper might be required.
Juan Mata’s contract also expires at the end of June and Solskjaer has said his future is up to the Spaniard and whether he wants to play more first-team football.
Returning loanees Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard are all likely to be sold, with Lingard set to be the most valuable after his fine spell with West Ham. Phil Jones’ future will also come under the spotlight having not played for the club in 18 months.
It all adds up to a busy summer for United, but while they will continue to try and make progress on deals, the situation will be complicated by the European Championship.