United linked with move for Brighton's Tariq Lamptey

Manchester United have been linked with Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey in a report by The Mail.

They report that Ralf Rangnick wants a right-back and a central midfielder if he is able to improve the squad before the end of his interim reign.

United are apparently willing to pay £30 million for Lamptey, but Brighton are holding out for closer to £40 million.

Even £40 million seems affordable for United, given they agreed a deal which could end up being worth up to £50 million for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in July 2019 according to Sky Sports.

But much depends on how much money Rangnick is handed to reshape the squad given the plan is for him to step aside at the end of the season.

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Rooney has already told United to sign Lamptey

One man who would likely approve of that deal is United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney.

He wrote in his Sunday Times column back in October 2020 that he thought Lamptey would be a ‘brilliant’ signing, and upgrade on Wan-Bissaka going forward.

“Personally, if I were doing their recruiting, as well as that number nine, I’d go for another centre half to partner Harry Maguire and try for Brighton & Hove Albion’s Tariq Lamptey, who looks a brilliant attacking right back,” wrote Rooney.

“While Aaron Wan-Bissaka has done OK defensively, you want United full backs to put the opposition on the back foot when the team have the ball and I don’t think he does that.

“Luke Shaw can at times but you always worry from a fitness point of view whether he can do it for 90 minutes so I think full back is an area where United could really improve.

“The game has changed and where before your full backs didn’t have to be attacking players, they just had to provide overlaps and be an option, nowadays they have to play a full part going forward — flooding the gaps when wide strikers such as [Marcus] Rashford come in from the sides.”

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United have been here before

Lamptey, 21, is a young right-back with a bright future in the game but he is uncapped by England has not played for a club in the upper reaches of the Premier League.

Wan-Bissaka was also 21 when he joined United as an uncapped defender with a huge amount of potential but also plenty to learn.

Wan-Bissaka’s strengths lie in individual defensive battles but he has not improved the other parts of his game as rapidly as might have been expected in his time at United.

Lamptey is fantastic going forward but there would be question marks over his defensive work, as well as the demands of playing every week at a huge club.

He has been at Chelsea, so he picked up some experience of what life is like at an elite club where the expectations are to win games every week and trophies at the end of the season, but he only played three games at Stamford Bridge.

Getting Lamptey to replace Wan-Bissaka would be taking the same gamble again. That is not to say it cannot work, but United should be aware of the risks.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.