Eight players Manchester United could sign after Sir Jim Ratcliffe 'meets' super agent

Antonio Silva of SL Benfica celebrates with teammate Joao Neves
Antonio Silva of SL Benfica celebrates with teammate Joao Neves -Credit:Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Manchester United are preparing for an important summer transfer window.

United could end the season by winning the FA Cup but will hope to significantly improve their league form after falling well short of the Champions League places. It will be the first full season since the Ineos Group began overseeing footballing operations and United have already begun revamping their recruitment strategy.

Sporting director Dan Ashworth is in the process of joining from Newcastle, while technical director Jason Wilcox has arrived from Southampton. The Mirror has reported that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, ahead of the transfer window, has also met with super agent Jorge Mendes. who has plenty of talented players signed to his Gestifute agency.

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Here’s a look at the Mendes clients that United could look at signing in the summer:

Antonio Silva

United are widely expected to target a new centre-back in the summer and have already been linked with a move for Antonio Silva. The Benfica centre-back, 20, has been earning rave reviews for his performances in Portugal and has been a mainstay in defence, making 48 appearances in all competitions and scoring two goals.

His contract is scheduled to run until 2027 but is reported to include a €100million (£85million) release clause.

Leny Yoro

An alternative centre-back target could be Lille’s Leny Yoro, who has also been tipped to join United. The French centre-back, 18, has quickly emerged as one of the best rising prospects in European football, making 41 appearances for Paulo Fonseca’s side this term.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has spoken about his desire for United to snap up talented players before they earn eye-watering price tags. Yoro fits into this category and, with his contract expiring in 205, is entering into the final year of his deal.

Tiago Santos

United could do a lot worse than targeting a double swoop for Lille defenders. Tiago Santos is an increasingly impressive right-back and was outstanding in both legs of the French side’s dramatic Europa Conference League exit to Aston Villa.

The 21-year-old was signed from Estoril last summer, agreeing a contract until 2028, but has quickly excelled in Ligue 1. Like Yoro, Santos has yet to earn a senior cap at international level and could prove to be a bargain for United, who may be tempted to freshen up their options at right-back.

Rayan Ait-Nouri

Jorge Mendes counts Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde among his clients but Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri is likely to be a more attainable target for United. The left-back has also been deployed further forward at points this season, such is his attacking intent, making 35 appearances and recording five goal contributions.

Left-back has proven to be a problem position for United this season. Ait-Nouri’s contract runs until 2026 but there is an added layer to any potential sale of the Algeria international. Lyon have retained a 50 per cent sell-on clause, which would reportedly cost Wolves £9.5million to remove.

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Joao Neves

Benfica have earned a reputation for developing incredible young players and Joao Neves is no exception. The defensive midfielder has already been linked with a move to United, making 52 appearances for the Portuguese giants this term. However, Benfica are determined to keep hold of the 19-year-old, placing a €120million (£101million) release clause in the Portugal international’s most recent contract.

Following speculation over Silva moving to United during the January window, Benfica responded with a club statement: “Under no circumstances has Sport Lisboa e Benfica entered into talks with Manchester United or any other club about this player from its youth academy - nor does it intend to do so - so any information to the contrary is false.”

Nico Gonzalez

United are likely to target a new midfielder this summer and Porto’s Nico Gonzalez represents a cheaper option for Erik ten Hag’s team.

The 22-year-old joined the Portuguese club from Barcelona last summer and has overcome an injury problem to play 34 times this term. Barcelona reportedly retain a €30million (£25million) buy-back option until 2025 and the Catalan club are said to be considering bringing the Spain U21 international back to Camp Nou this summer. Much like Benfica, Porto have a glowing reputation for developing players and Barcelona would receive 40 per cent of any potential sale.

Bradley Barcola

It seems PSG have already adopted Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s preferred transfer strategy of snapping up talented youngsters. Moving on from their attempts to become ‘Galacticos’, the French side signed left-sided forward Barcola from Lyon for €45m (£38million) in August. Making 37 appearances overall, including 25 starts, Barcola has registered 12 goal contributions.

While it may take a huge fee to prise the 21-year-old from PSG, United may wish to revamp their attack, particularly with speculation surrounding Marcus Rashford’s future at Old Trafford.

Goncalo Ramos

The striker was linked with a move to Manchester United before joining PSG last summer. Ramos scored 27 goals in 47 games during his final season with Benfica, persuading PSG to stump up a fee reportedly rising to €80million (£67million) for the 22-year-old forward.

He has scored 14 goals and provided two assists in 36 games during his debut season. However, Ramos would be expensive if United were to prioritise a move for the Portugal international with a reported €120million (£101million) release clause.