Dan Ashworth can raise £83m for Joao Neves transfer with three quick sales at Manchester United

Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood are both expected to leave this summer
-Credit: (Image: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

If Manchester United are to attain all of their transfer targets this summer, Dan Ashworth will need to repair the club’s reputation when it comes to sales.

United have been mediocre at best at receiving ample fees for exiting players, and have often allowed expensive arrivals to leave for free, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane being just two. As a result, United’s stance within Premier League spending rules has taken a whack.

It is thought that United may only have around an initial net spend of around £50m this summer amid fears of breaching cash-loss limits. As such, sales would be needed to fund Erik ten Hag’s intention to land a defender, a midfielder and a striker.

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The early signs seem positive, with reports suggesting that Donny van de Beek will be sold to Girona, perhaps for as much as £13m, which would be remarkable given the dire spell the £39m signing has endured over the past four years.

United have meanwhile been linked with Joao Neves, but if the club are to prise the pivot away from Benfica, they would need to cough up a substantial amount. The midfielder has a reported £102m release clause and is sitting on a contract that still has four years left to run.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s ambition this summer looks restrained given he is refusing to pay out £70m for Jarrad Branthwaite, and probably rightly so given the mistakes of previous years. But should it be decided that Neves is their target, Ashworth can sanction two other sales alongside Van de Beek to help fund a pursuit.

Mason Greenwood is garnering a lot of interest from clubs on the continent, with MEN Sport revealing this week that Lazio and Marseille have tabled bids for the attacker. Reports in Italy claim United are holding out for £30m.

For those connected with Greenwood, that is an affordable price albeit overseas outfits do not have the financial resources as readily available. But given the intense interest in the 22-year-old, it could prompt one of those interested to strike early and dish out.

All the while, United are looking for around £40m for Jadon Sancho, MEN Sport understands. The winger is expected back at Carrington on Monday amid his ongoing feud with Erik ten Hag, which prompted his short loan spell at Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund.

Sancho is due to be harder to shift than Greenwood due to several factors, and his price tag will likely be too much for a Dortmund return. The player indicated last summer that a move to Saudi Arabia was not of interest to him at the time.

United may ultimately have to drop their price for the attacker, who feels an apology to Ten Hag would be admitting guilt when he feels he has not been at fault. It seems sensible for an exit to be sorted as quickly as possible in the circumstances.

These quick-fire sales can potentially drum up a notable £83m sum if all go for their top-end valuations, and even if not, they would rake in a healthy amount.

That can then be put towards a fee for Neves or another target while still having that £50m net spend to play with. Others will need to be sold to secure funds for the third transfer target.