Man Utd ‘transfer secret’ revealed as Ten Hag wanted World Cup star before ‘deal collapsed’

Man Utd-linked Juranovic Credit: Alamy
Man Utd-linked Juranovic Credit: Alamy

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has revealed that Man Utd were interested in signing Josip Juranovic during the January transfer window.

The Red Devils have been linked with several right-backs this season. This comes as Aaron Wan-Bissaka was down the pecking order during the first few months of the 2022/23 campaign.

Erik ten Hag instead preferred to use Diogo Dalot at right-back and the Portugal international was in great form for United before the World Cup got going.

Since the World Cup, Wan-Bissaka has got himself into the team and he has made the most of this opportunity. He was linked with a return to Crystal Palace in January but it looks like he has an important role to play for United up until the summer.

Ten Hag likes to have two viable options at full-back. He has that on the left with Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

But prior to Wan-Bissaka’s recent resurgence, they were in the market for a potential replacement. Romano has revealed that Juranovic was a “concrete” option.

The ex-Celtic star shone for Croatia at the World Cup as the European nation reached the semi-finals of the tournament. He was mentioned as a potential target for Man Utd in December but he has since signed for Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin.

Romano is reporting that Juranovic was United’s ‘preference’ if Wan-Bissaka had moved on.

‘The second transfer secret is about Manchester United – we know they were looking for a new right-back, and that Aaron Wan-Bissaka could have left because he had a difficult first half of the season,’ Romano wrote for Caught Offside.

‘But then he played well in January and United decided to invest in Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer instead.

‘Still, United had a right-back in mind in case Wan-Bissaka was going to leave, and that right-back was Josip Juranovic – the Croatian who moved from Celtic to Union Berlin.

‘He was their preference to come in as backup right-back, behind Diogo Dalot, who remains the owner of the right flank at the club.

‘The United board discussed Juranovic, but they decided to keep Wan-Bissaka and so the deal collapsed and he instead decided to accept the approach from Union Berlin. Still, he was a concrete opportunity.’

Juranovic has hit the ground running at Union Berlin. His manager – Urs Fischer – has admitted that he is “spoiled for choice” at full-back.

“He’s slowly adjusting but of course, I’m spoiled for choice. On both sides actually. With the duo [Niko] Giesselmann and [Jerome] Roussillon [left], but also on the right with [Christopher] Trimmel and Juranovic,” Fischer said.

“They are doing really well at the moment, we have many players. In the cup game, he had more confidence going forward than in the first game, it was another step in the right direction.”

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