Man Utd identify ‘primary target’ who faces Premier League relegation this season | Football | Sport

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Ten Hag’s hopes of remaining at the helm next term have been boosted by his side’s upturn in results in recent weeks, with another top-four spot and FA Cup run in his sights.

He is expected to lose some power over recruitment if he remains at Old Trafford this summer due to the structural changes Ratcliffe will oversee once the Football Association approves his investment this month.

But Ten Hag will retain a say in the club’s transfer planning in the coming months, and his defence is an area they are set to heavily address.

According to the Mail, United and Tottenham Hotspur are currently pushing the hardest to sign Branthwaite in the summer.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid are also said to be in the frame for the 21-year-old but trail United and Spurs in the running for his signature.

Following a bright loan spell at PSV Eindhoven, Branthwaite has shone in the Premier League this season despite Everton’s woes.

The Toffees are at risk of relegation after a 10-point deduction earlier in the campaign has left them in 18th.

And United are reportedly looking to take advantage of their precarious position in the transfer window as part of plans to sign two young centre-backs.

Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans are out of contract in June, while Victor Lindelof is entering the final 12 months of his deal with no sign of an extension on its way.

Lisandro Martinez’s injury frustrations since last April, leaving Ten Hag without a left-footed centre-half, will also be a concern.

Branthwaite’s status as a left-sided centre-back adds to his appeal, while homegrown players are also expected to be a focus of United’s early recruitment under INEOS.

It could very well be that United will recruit a left and right-sided central defender to provide Martinez with competition and replace Varane.

The report adds that Benfica’s Antonio Silva, OGC Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Lille’s Leny Yoro are also on the radar, although the latter appears to be destined for Real Madrid.

United’s summer plans will kick into full gear once Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion investment is made official, with FA confirmation arriving as early as this week.



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