United's chance to sign Thomas Partey could get a lot harder
One of the more logical transfer decisions Manchester United could have made in the summer would have been to sign Thomas Partey.
The Ghanaian international was available from Atletico Madrid due to a £43.5 million clause in his contract. It still exists, but possibly not for too much longer.
Spanish newspaper AS report Atletico plan to double the clause to £87 million to fend off suitors. They are also aiming to offer him a substantial age increase.
Partey is a defensive midfielder who at 26 would be an excellent replacement for Nemanja Matic.
The release clause would have made a deal relatively simply to complete, had United chosen to pursue him.
The Mail had reported in May that United were keen on Partey, but this was a potential deal the club did not follow up.
It was a decision made even more bizarre by the fact United chose not to sign a midfielder at all.
Since then the Ghanaian has been one of Atletico’s top players this season, really stepping up after Rodri’s departure to City.
He scored in their recent Champions League win away at Lokomotiv Moscow.
While his release clause remains at £43.5 million, United have a chance, but with negotiations ‘well underway’ to double it, a move becomes very unlikely, as it will likely be tied up by January.
Of course, you can’t discount Ed Woodward overpaying next summer. United have done this before. Harry Maguire would have been cheaper had United signed him in 2018 than 2019.
Need still remains
If not Partey, United still need to actively look to sign a new defensive midfielder.
Fred is not a specialist in this role and Nemanja Matic is not in favour. It looks like this could be the Serbian’s final season at United.
Declan Rice has been linked but is overpriced by West Ham, while Benfica’s Florentino Luis is another promising name with a high release clause.
With a striker or creative player a clear priority, it is likely United will only now address this need next summer.
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