Man Utd scouts have been busy ahead of the summer transfer window
Manchester United’s scouting department has endured another tireless campaign collecting detailed analysis and data along the way, while keeping a close eye on a host of reported targets around the world, including the Premier League. The Red Devils have already confirmed that chief scouts Jim Lawlor and Marcel Bout will move to new pastures at the end of the season, but in the meantime work to improve United’s signing momentum remains ongoing with both feet firmly on the team. pedal.
New boss Erik ten Hag, who will arrive at Old Trafford in the coming months after agreeing an initial three-year deal (with the option of a further 12 months), will finally have the last word on summer arrivals, but that has not been so. That didn’t stop United from producing detailed scouting reports on various possible targets.
Caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick is set to move up to his consultant role as scheduled, despite accepting the Austrian national team’s hot seat, and the 63-year-old has already confirmed that as many as 10 new faces could come to United in the off-season, which means there will be a huge focus on bringing in the right profiles before the 2022/23 campaign.
It’s no secret that United’s scouting network has received a number of personal assignments in recent weeks, but some players have faced more extensive scrutiny than others.
One of them is Benfica’s highly rated leader Darwin Nunez, and Express Sport understands that United have seen him more than 15 times this season with Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, West Ham and Atletico Madrid also interested in the 22-year-old goal machine.
United scouts, among others, were in Lisbon at the Estadio da Luz to watch Nunez score twice in a historic 3-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League group stage in September.
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Man United saw Darwin Núñez score twice for Benfica in a 3-0 win over Barcelona
From that day on, it was clear that the Uruguayan international centre-forward would be put under the microscope in more detail, as his credentials at United and in the Premier League were continually assessed in preparation for the departure of compatriot Edinson Cavani.
They have not let United down so far, having also scored in front of their scouts in a 3-1 quarter-final loss to Liverpool last month. Nunez now has 26 goals in 27 Primeira Liga games this season and is also believed to be wanted by Ten Hag, after scoring a decisive goal for Benfica that eliminated Ajax from the Champions League in Amsterdam in mid-March.
However, he is not the only striker to have been assessed by United scouts in this season’s competition. Villarreal’s Arnaut Danjuma, a £16m summer signing from Bournemouth, was also followed in his team’s 1-0 quarter-final triumph over Bayern Munich at the Estadio de la Cerámica earlier in April, a game in which he scored the winning goal.
United scouts have been closely following his remarkable development this season following his impressive transformation under former Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
His age (25), maturity and attacking versatility fit exactly the kind of profile United are looking for to shake up their disappointing attacking options, although Villarreal are likely to demand a big lead after such an impressive season.
Man Utd have been following Arnaut Danjuma’s progress with Villarreal
Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, who won La Liga last season while on loan at Atletico Madrid, was also in the spotlight in the Ligue 1 club’s Europa League round of 16 first leg victory over Porto in March.
The former Celtic and Fulham leader only has one year left on his contract in France and may leave the club this summer, should a suitable offer come through. His goalscoring pedigree and his experience on the continental stage mean he is one of several names United are considering as part of their plan to replace veteran Cavani.
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has been continuously linked with Manchester United in recent seasons, having previously been introduced by super-agent Jorge Mendes. With the board looking to add at least two central midfielders to Ten Hag’s squad, he is one of the names currently being considered with Declan Rice with a £120m rating seemingly out of reach.
The Red Devils are believed to have sent scouts to catch a glimpse of Neves in Wolves’ surprise 3-0 Premier League defeat to Brighton at Molineux last weekend, but they have also watched him on several other occasions this season.
However, once again, he’s not the only central midfielder in the draw and River Plate’s Enzo Fernandez is another name who has been discussed internally by United’s scouting team after emerging as one of Argentina’s brightest talents.
Man Utd watched Ruben Neves in Wolves’ 3-0 loss to Brighton
River Plate midfielder Enzo Fernández has been observed by Man Utd
Last month, United delegates were in South America to watch him take part in River’s 2-0 Copa Libertadores win over Fortaleza. Real Madrid and Manchester City are also following the 21-year-old’s progress.
This week, events in Scandinavia have seemingly confirmed that Hammarby’s young talent, Williot Swedberg, has also caught the eye of United scouts, who recently saw him in a 0-0 draw with Malmo.
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder, who already has five Allsvenskan goals in six matches this season, was on course to join Lokomotiv Moscow for just under £5m before Russia declared war on Ukraine. He is now believed to be one of many talents being considered for the future.
While there is no better judge of character than new boss Ten Hag when it comes to Eredivisie players, United have spent the second half of the season scouting Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia.
The 22-year-old Rotterdam-born Dutch international is rated at around £20m and while there have been no discussions between the two clubs so far, it is understood that Malacia is one of Ten Hag’s preferred targets as the United scouts continue to seek to build files on the defender.