MANCHESTER UNITED’s summer transfer budget is dependent on the future of three players.
That’s according to journalist Duncan Castles, who says the potential sales of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and David De Gea will decide how much Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to spend.
All three stars are being linked with moves away from Old Trafford this summer.
Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has confirmed his client wants to leave the club amid reported interest from Real Madrid, Lukaku is wanted by Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte and De Gea’s future is uncertain heading into the final year of his contract.
And Castles believes United could bring in £180m by selling Pogba and Lukaku alone.
READ MORE: Man Utd chief Ed Woodward agreed to Solskjaer’s two transfer requests
“You’re looking at a summer in which Manchester United’s ultimate budget will be determined by what happens to three of their best-paid players”
“You’re looking at a summer in which Manchester United’s ultimate budget will be determined by what happens to three of their best-paid players,” he said on The Transfer Window podcast.
“David de Gea, whether he can find another club to go to if he decides not to sign a new contract.
“Romelu Lukaku, who wants to leave and who Solskjaer has made surplus to requirements in the sense that he is not going to be first-choice centre-forward – Lukaku is not happy with that situation understandably – and they have an obvious buyer in Inter, whose new manager wants Lukaku and has prioritised him, but there is a big debate over what the fee should be and how the fee should be paid.
“And then Paul Pogba, the most expensive player on their squad who has made it quite clear that he wants to leave, and again there is a big debate with Real Madrid about what the price should be and how that should be structured.
READ MORE: United urged to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa on one condition
“If you exclude De Gea, whose transfer fee would be the least of those three from the equation, you’re talking about at least €200m [£180m] of cash dependent on those two sales.
“And if United were to spend that money ahead of bringing it in, it would certainly weaken their negotiating position with Madrid and Inter and any other suitors who came into the equation because Madrid and Inter would be able to say ‘well, you’ve already bought. You need money. We know you need to sell now, so we’re not gonna offer you quite as much.’
“Knowing also that they have the advantage of the later transfer windows to work with. In Italy’s case, going into September before they have to complete deals.
“Manchester United have to have everything done inside the next month in terms of incoming players, so at some point they’re gonna have to make a decision: ‘do we expect Pogba to go?’ – which they probably do at this stage and we’ve told you they’re ready to cash in on the player – ‘do we expect that deal to be done? If we do, then we need to buy replacements.’
READ MORE: Sporting Lisbon president makes ‘guarantee’ amid Bruno Fernandes to United rumours
“They’re already down Herrera, so they need someone new in midfield to start with.
“Solskjaer wasn’t happy with his midfield. Even under the assumption that he was going to retain Herrera and Pogba, he wanted new players in there.
“So work has to be done.”
The Transfer Window podcast is available to download on iTunes, or you can listen to it on Acast.