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Man United’s emerging £40m target provides Erik ten Hag unique opportunity at Old Trafford



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Credit: IMAGO / Sportimage

Manchester United are not often referred to when discussing smart transfer business in recent years.

Too many short-term and short-sighted signings since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement has led United to where they are now. They remain without a Premier League title since the legendary Scotsman stepped down but are veering in the right direction under Erik ten Hag.

The Dutch manager has been mostly successful in his transfer windows thus far. However, United could do what they haven’t done enough of in the upcoming months and skip the queue.

Usually, players come to Old Trafford after becoming household names. That almost always adds extra zeros on the end of their price tag. The idea is clear, United do not want to sign a bunch of unproven talent for the first team, but elsewhere it’s proving to be very successful.

Manchester City’s swoop of Julian Alverez straight from Argentina means that they were able to sign him for just £14 million – a fee that would be almost certainly be 10 times more if someone would look to take him away from City this summer.

United had interest in Alvarez but did not act on it; there was a similar case for Moises Caicedo who is now set to leave Brighton for upwards of £70 million; Erling Haaland another.

There are often middle men in the development of these players; such as Borussia Dortmund and Brighton; before the player is sold for extraordinary prices. United need to steer towards making smarter signings for players who can blossom and an opportunity has arose to start going in that direction.

Romeo Lavia was relegated into the Championship with Southampton after they finished bottom of the Premier League in 2022/23. The 19 year old played 29 games in the league and impressed many in his debut campaign after he left Man City last summer.

It looks likely that he could be on the move again in the coming months. A young talented midfielder with tons of room for growth could be very useful to Ten Hag’s side. The Daily Mail has reported that United admire the midfielder and that The Saints would demand £40-50 million.

Now, that is still a lot of money, but if United were able to prise him away from St Mary’s for a fee towards the £40 million mark, they would be making steps in the correct direction. Lavia’s talent levels could mean that he’s double the price in a year’s time in a similar way the the rise of Caicedo from Brighton.