Manchester United are still interested in Kieran Trippier but will need to sell before making an offer
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hopes of making further additions to his squad are likely to hinge around the futures of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard with Manchester United targeting an overall net spend of between £75 million and £100m this summer.
United agreed an initial £34.2m fee, rising to £42.7m with adds on, with Real Madrid for France defender Raphael Varane on Monday, three days after announcing the £72.9m signing of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.
Including the solidarity payments owed to Watford and Manchester City for Sancho, that deal will cost United £76.55m all told.
It means United have committed to paying almost £120m in the transfer market this summer and is likely to necessite the club making at least one significant sale if Solskjaer is to add a midfielder and/or the Atlético Madrid right back Kieran Trippier to his squad before the close of the transfer window on Aug. 31.
Pogba, 28, has yet to offer United any encouragement that he will sign a new deal and is the player most likely to command a substantial fee. Paris Saint-Germain are considering an approach for the France midfielder, who has entered the final 12 months of his contract and could fetch up to €50m (about £43m), a similar fee to Varane.
Another 28-year-old, Lingard, is also in the last year of his contract and West Ham would like to sign the England forward permanently after he impressed on loan at the London Stadium during the second half of last season. He is valued at up to £30m. Numerous clubs domestically and overseas are monitoring his situation.
United have a number of players who could generate decent loan fees and others they could sell permanently if offers are forthcoming but it remains to be seen what kind of money such deals could raise. Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams, Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira and Facundo Pellestri are among those who could exit in one form or another. Tahith Chong has already joined Birmingham City on loan. It also remains to be seen what happens with goalkeepers Dean Henderson and David De Gea.
United were determined to land their two leading summer targets in Sancho and Varane, despite the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has cost the club upwards of £150m, but any more signings may have to be funded by sales.
There is also the need to make space on a soaring wage bill. United’s revenues for the 2019-20 season were down to £509m from £627m the previous year and that figure could yet dip below £500m for last season in what would be the lowest turnover for six years. United’s revenues for the nine months to March 31 this year stood at £400.1m, a £27.4m drop on the corresponding period last season.
At the same time, United’s wage bill has mushroomed as a result of the club’s involvement in the Champions League and the arrival of new, high earning players.
United’s wage bill for 2019-20, when the club were not in the Champions League, was £284m but it stood at £238.8m for the first nine months of last season and will comfortably top £300m for the year.
United’s wage to turnover ratio stood at 56 per cent for 2019-20 but it could surpass the 60 per cent mark for last season, a figure beyond what the club are usually comfortable with.
Unlike some of their European rivals, United have demonstrated an ability to still compete financially this summer, despite the loss of matchday income and other significant revenue streams such as pre-season tours, and hope to see Old Trafford back at full capacity next season. They also have access to a revolving £200m credit facility but costs need to be balanced which is why there may be outgoings to follow if Solskjaer is able to strength further.
The United manager would like a defensive midfielder and the club has a firm interest in Trippier, the England right-back. United have also been sounding out potential midfield replacements for Pogba.