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Manchester United’s search for their first signing this summer goes on, and they have just been hit with a major setback.
New boss Erik ten Hag has been keen to link up with some of his former players at Ajax, with United having been closely linked to four players he coached there.
The three of those who are still at the club have just had bumper price tags put on them by the club in a bid to keep their squad together, as reported by Mike Verweij of De Telegraaf.
🗞 Ajax don't want to sell Antony, Lisandro Martínez and Jurriën Timber - they have put an extremely high price tag on them. Antony will have to cost between €70-80m [£60.3-68.9m] and the other two €50m [£43m]. [@MikeVerweij via @TheEuropeanLad]— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) June 22, 2022
Brazilian winger Antony has been placed with the highest of these tags, reportedly being valued above the €70 million mark, which would be a very significant chunk of United’s budget.
The 22 year old has been a major club target for a few months now as they search for a natural right winger to balance out their attack.
The position has been a problem for a while now, but given United’s relatively small budget in comparison to previous years, lack of sellable assets and other positional needs, it is difficult to justify that kind of expenditure on one player when the player is not considered amongst the world’s best in his position.
Dutch centre back Jurrien Timber was already going to stay at Ajax as he wants a regular starting berth with the 2022 World Cup approaching this winter.
The Amsterdam based club’s decision to value him at €50 million only serves to put the nail in the coffin on this transfer link.
With Timber being unavailable, United then turned their attention to Lisandro Martínez.
The Argentine centre back, who United are battling fierce rivals Arsenal for, has also been valued at €50 million by Ajax.
His ability to play in the midfield double pivot, and even fill in at left back if required, makes him an extremely valuable asset to have.
Out of the three, he would probably be the signing that makes the most sense given United’s struggles both at centre back and in midfield.
Given United’s budget and needs this summer, it would only be feasible to sign one of these players.
Frenkie de Jong is the priority for United currently, as the Old Trafford bosses negotiate with Barcelona.
Which of these players, if any of them, ends up being the one that United pursue and possibly sign remains to be seen.
However, this news is certainly a blow for United as they look to rebuild the side.