With Harry Maguire’s Manchester United career ending with a very predictable move to West Ham – David Moyes finally getting his mitts on a player he has admired for a decade – it suddenly feels that Sofyan Amrabat will not be Erik ten Hag’s final signing of the window.
United, after all, now find themselves in the market for a centre-half, as well as a midfielder.
And the Daily Mail believe that there is currently a four-man shortlist under consideration at Old Trafford. Jean-Clair Todibo – according to the uber-reliable Fabrizio Romano – is sitting pretty at the top of Ten Hag’s wishlist; his Barcelona past highlighting a cerebral, ball-playing style which could make the Frenchman an ideal partner for Lisandro Martinez, as well as a long-term Raphael Varane replacement.
The Mail believe that Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard is another on United’s radar, alongside Crystal Palace’s England international Marc Guehi.
And if Edmond Tapsoba’s name feels eerily familiar, then there’s probably a good reason for that. Man United, according to BILD, contacted Bayer Leverkusen about a deal for the rangy Burkina Faso international back in 2021.
Should they do the same again, two years on, however, don’t expect Leverkusen to keep the line open for long.
Manchester United face uphill Edmond Tapsoba climb
“(We will not sell Tapsoba) under normal circumstances,” sporting director Simon Rolfes told BILD in July. “With his quality, I would be surprised if there is no interest. There are always limits somewhere.
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“But Eddy is a very important player. Without a doubt one of the top players in our team.”
“Eddy still has a long contract and therefore there is no reason for us to think about (selling him) at all. That’s not an issue.”
It is now over a fortnight since Rolfes made those particularly bullish claims. One suspects, given the lack of time left in the window and the difficulties of finding a replacement of equal quality at such a late stage, the Leverkusen chief would be even more insistent on retaining Tapsoba’s services now than he was a few weeks back.
Of course, there is still the ‘player power’ factor to consider here. If Man United step up their interest in the £38 million-rated Tapsoba – who is equally comfortable as the right and the left-sided centre-half and possesses rare quality with the ball at his feet – the former Vitoria Guimaraes stopper could still look to take matters into his own hand and force through a move.
But having already decided that a summer of toing-and-froing with Daniel Levy over Harry Kane was not worth the hassle, do United – with the Premier League season set to begin – have the desire to embark upon another fierce battle with another outspoken club chief?