Manchester United given green light to make incredible £155m transfer raid in next six days

Man United’s first transfer deadline is approaching, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe may spend a lot of money.

Man United's first transfer deadline is approaching, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe may spend a lot of money.

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Manchester United may try to profit from the chaos as Premier League teams race to complete a slew of transfer deals before June 30 by making a massive move of their own.

Four teams appear to be playing their own version of transfer swaps—Newcastle United, Everton, Aston Villa, and Chelsea—without the Panini sticker books as they rush to finish their business in time to meet the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

Ian Maatsen is expected to sign a £37.5 million contract with Chelsea and Villa Park. Since the player has been with the Blues since he was sixteen, the Blues will pocket almost the whole amount of the transfer fee. Villa may amortise the cost over a five-year period, so this year’s finances only reflect £7.5 million.

The 18-year-old attacker Omari Kellyman, who is currently valued at well under £20 million, will be acquired by Chelsea in exchange. A year ago, Villa paid £600k to acquire the teenager from Chelsea. Despite playing only 35 minutes in the Premier League and 715 minutes in the Premier League 2, ‘his value’ has increased by almost £19 million.

Villa is engaged in a similar process with Everton. Lewis Dobbin from the Toffees was signed by them for £10 million, even though his transfer worth is presently only £2 million. On the other hand, Tim Iroegbunam, who was valued at £4 million on Transfermarkt, was acquired by Everton from Villa for a sum of £9 million.

Newcastle and Everton are also in communication. The Magpies are reportedly interested in Dominic Calvert-Lewin for £20 million, while Yankuba Minteh, a teenage winger who Odense only paid £4 million for a year ago, may go the other way. The Gambian forward made an impression when on loan at Feyenoord the previous season, and now that he’s been connected to teams like Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, and Roma, he has an astonishing £40 million price tag placed on him.

United has been closely monitoring this process, particularly the events at Goodison Park, as they consider making a second offer for England international Jarrad Branthwaite, who was rejected by Everton for a fee of £35 million in the first round. The Merseyside team rejected the deal out of hand, believing it was ridiculous for a player they value between £70 million and £80 million. The deal contained add-ons that could have raised the total cost to £43 million.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has previously spoken about the “dumb money” the club has spent on transfers, is adamant that United will never longer pay players more than is reasonable. Furthermore, the transfer budget is crucial because every club is concerned about financial restrictions and Old Trafford needs to completely rebuild its roster.

After examining United’s PSR position, football finance journalist Dave Powell of MEN Sport concludes that there is enough wiggle room that United could have afforded to make a bid of £80 million for Branthwaite.

“United have got £31m left to play with in terms of their PSR position, based on some estimates from the current financial year which ends on June 30,” Powell stated.

If you were willing to pay £80 million to sign Branthwaite, you could spread that out over a maximum of five years. Divide the £80 million by five, and you get roughly £16 million annually. Therefore, they still have some wiggle area about the charge.

Additionally, when they sell a player, they can immediately recover their costs and book it into their records; yet, when they sign a player, it’s like paying for tick over a five-year period. In other words, they are able to raise their bid.”

And bids elsewhere, not just for Branthwaite. In addition to a new defender, United is interested in adding a striker and a centre midfielder. One of the top candidates to replace Anthony Martial’s offensive hole is Joshua Zirkzee, whose release clause of about £33 million will become active the following week.

Notwithstanding any financial concerns, Ratcliffe may spend up to £155 million by the end of the month given the “spare” £31 million that United has to work with in its PSR calculations and amortisation over five years. The question is whether he wants to or not.

After finishing in ninth place the previous season, United has to make a lot of transfers this summer, and they need to do it well. Ideally, they would make signings as soon as possible, and since they have financial freedom that other clubs don’t, they could act quickly—within the next six days.

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