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Manchester United ‘agreed a deal’ for Liverpool starlet before bizarre move scuppered transfer



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Manchester United had ‘agreed a deal’ for one Liverpool starlet in 2020 before a bizarre move cost them the transfer.

Since INEOS took charge at the beginning of the year, the Reds have been making large changes behind the scenes.

Dan Ashworth has come in as the sporting director, with Jason Wilcox and Christopher Vivell supporting him in the recruitment department.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s team are looking to improve the past mistakes made under the Glazer ownership by getting the best people in their respective positions.

An article from The Athletic recalled one of the many deals that never happened at Old Trafford four years ago and provided a detailed assessment of what went wrong in it.

It was explained that in 2020, United had agreed a deal with Celta Vigo for young centre-back Stefan Bajcetic for around €250,000.

However, the club’s football negotiations manager, Sam Barnett, had contacted Bajcetic’s father, Srdjan and asked whether he would be able to pull him out of the Spanish club. This would allow the Old Trafford club to only need to pay training compensation, which was around €100,000.

Unsurprisingly, Bajcetic’s father, a former Celta Vigo player and employee of the Spanish club, refused. The young defender soon joined Liverpool for the original €250,000 fee.

Bajcetic has since adapted to become a midfielder and is one of the most highly-rated young players in the first team at Anfield. He has already made 22 appearances and would have more, if not for injury setbacks.

However, while the success of the player is relevant, the negotiation strategy for the move was one of the reasons United have been poor in many deals in recent years. Slow and naive.

The club wanted a young centre-back. The scouting department provided Bajcetic but went back to the drawing board. The problem with young talent is that you’ll never be too confident of them making it, especially if you’re chasing the third or fourth target instead of the first.

Lyndon Tomlinson, the club’s former assistant head of academy recruitment, said: “But United still needed a centre-back. So we went to the next one on the list: ‘Well, we’re gonna have to go “and watch him, which will cost money’.

“Then we got to about fourth on the list, and we said, ‘Look, they’re on the list to give context, but we’re not confident of going and paying money for one of those’.”