Manchester United are targeting players who are entering the final year of their contracts this summer as part of the rebuild under new minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a source has told ESPN.
United have money to spend in the summer transfer window despite concerns about breaching profit and sustainability rules.
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The club improved their financial situation in January by allowing a number of players, including Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho, to leave Old Traffford. A host of young players also departed, including Facundo Pellistri, Hannibal Mejbri and Álvaro Fernández while on-loan defender Sergio Reguilón had his temporary spell cut short.
Despite what the club considered a positive January window, a source has told ESPN that finances remain “tight” and targeting players approaching the end of their contracts is viewed as a good way of managing their summer spend.
It was one of the reasons Mason Mount became such an attractive prospect last summer with United told ahead of negotiations that he would not sign a new deal at Chelsea.
The west London club decided to facilitate Mount’s departure rather than risk losing the England midfielder for free a year later.
United are exploring a number of similar deals ahead of this summer with players such as Joshua Kimmich, Jonathan David and Khephren Thuram all set to be out of contract in 2025.
Manchester City are also among a host of other clubs to have shown an interest in Germany international Kimmich, who will enter the final year of his deal at Bayern Munich at the end of the season.
Bayern defender Alphonso Davies is also set to enter the final year of his contract in the summer but sources have told ESPN that Real Madrid are his top choice if he decides to leave the Allianz Arena.
Ratcliffe and his INEOS team are hoping to appoint a new director of football in the coming weeks but planning for the summer window has already started. Confirmation of Ratcliffe’s 25% stake is expected by mid-February.