Dayot Upamecano will step out at Old Trafford tonight with the spotlight on him.
The French defender was linked with a transfer to United at the end of August via The Telegraph, although no progress was made over a deal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quizzed about Upamecano ahead of the Champions League tie with RB Leipzig, and he was surprisingly open about his admiration for the player.
Solskjaer was quoted by The Times and said: “There’s always rumours and speculation about good players for Manchester United. I know he’s a very good player so we can see him close up tomorrow.”
Upamecano’s future is a very open subject as it is. His £38 million release clause is common knowledge, and it comes into effect next summer.
Normally his value would be in the £60 million range.
Upamecano scored for Leipzig at the weekend and no matter how well he fares against United tonight, he remains a top prospect and is just 22.
United can’t just get to June or July and just assume Upamecano’s release clause can be met with little competition.
Europe’s top sides will be keen, and United have to beware a threat from rivals Liverpool.
The long-term injury to Virgil van Dijk has increased their need for a new defender.
The Sunday World report Leipzig even expect Liverpool to bid during the upcoming transfer window.
So what can United do?
If Liverpool are preparing to bid in January, to beat the race for his release clause in the summer and pay a little extra, United should look at doing the same.
Really, this should have been the plan this past summer too, to get a deal done quickly.
Moving for Upamecano in January is also a positive providing United are still in the Champions League.
There is a risk next summer in this open Premier League that United miss out on the top four, and then lose out in the race for Upamecano.
The French defender is worth paying up a little extra for, and if United leave it to next summer, there are no guarantees we will get him.
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