In pictures: Man Utd beat Derby in pre-season friendly
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Manchester United’s impressive start to the summer transfer window shows the strides made at the club under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Premier League giants have already signed Jadon Sancho, with Raphael Varane expected to follow, while rising star Eduardo Camavinga is on the club’s radar and Solskjaer’s side are also said to be leading the race for Saul Niguez.
It is a vastly different story to last summer, when Donny van de Beek looked destined to be the only major signing before deadline day deals were done for Edinson Cavani and Facundo Pellistri.
Ed Woodward’s refusal to meet Borussia Dortmund’s £108m price tag for Sancho has arguably been vindicated, with United having agreed to sign the England winger for just £73m a year on.
In that time the Red Devils have finished second in the Premier League – although admittedly during a season which saw Liverpool severely hampered by injuries, while Chelsea’s domestic campaign was a transitional one before they surged to Champions League glory.
United’s shortcomings were showed up as they fell at the final hurdle in the Europa League, with captain Harry Maguire missing through injury for the clash against Villarreal.
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But their progress nonetheless appears to have been enough to convince Sancho and Varane that Old Trafford is the right place for them to further their careers.
Sancho’s determination to join United seems to been a factor in the long-awaited transfer finally coming off, while Varane looks set to leave Real Madrid after 10 years at the La Liga giants, with the best years of his career potentially still ahead of him.
The two are being viewed as solutions to two long-standing problems at United, with Sancho expected to nail down the right-wing spot, while Varane is being targeted as a top-class defensive partner for Maguire.
And United also continue to be linked with two midfield additions as Solskjaer looks to make further improvements.
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The Red Devils are among several clubs keen on Rennes’ rising star Eduardo Camavinga, while reports on Monday claimed they are also in the driving seat to sign Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid.
According to The Athletic, United will wait until later on in transfer window to try and sign Camavinga in the hope that Rennes will accpet a lower price rather than risk losing the 18-year-old for nothing next summer.
With the likes of PSG and Real Madrid also interested, it’s a risky strategy – but it shows that United are not willing to pay over the odds, having been stung by high transfer fees in the past.
It is also perhaps a sign that the club have a new-found confidence in the transfer market, rather than desperately trying to target big names in the hope of recapturing their glory days.
United have also moved ahead of rivals Liverpool in the race to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul, according to Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar.
The 26-year-old’s agent Jonathan Barnett is said to be in advanced talks with the club over a move for the Spain international.
A note of caution should be sounded here, as United appear to have been linked with Saul international every summer of late.
But it is surely a positive sign that they are being talked about as a potential destination for a player also linked with Barcelona as well as their fiercest rivals.
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