Five English stars Man Utd could sign as Ratcliffe eyes homegrown transfer policy
Manchester United will look to sign British and home-grown players once Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes his proposed investment into the club, anticipated to be in the coming weeks.
Ratcliffe is closing in on a purchasing a 25% stake in United which would see the billionaire assume control of the club’s footballing operations, with an overhaul to the recruitment set-up already in the works.
A report by the Daily Mail claims that Ratcliffe is eager to see a more ‘domestic presence’ within the core of the team, with just seven of the club’s major signings in the past decade being homegrown.
While United’s transfer policy will ultimately be dictated by financial limitations, Ratcliffe is said to be keen to bring in players who ‘have already experienced the rigours of English football.’
FootballTransfers takes a look at five players who could realistically be targeted by Ratcliffe and United in the coming months if they choose to focus in on a domestic and home-grown transfer policy.
It is perhaps unlikely that Erik ten Hag will write off Andre Onana less than a season after his big money £50 million move from Inter despite the goalkeeper’s high-profile mistakes recently but England number one Jordan Pickford could be a target if Everton’s troubles worsen
The Toffees may face further point deductions which could see them relegated and lead to Pickford seeking a return to the top flight in a cut-price deal.
Although no stranger to an error himself, Pickford’s experience in the Premier League as well as the big stage at international level could make him a standout candidate to provide competition to Onana if the Cameroonian continues to struggle.
United’s need for a centre-back has been well documented and their interest in Pickford’s teammate Jarrad Branthwaite has also been long-term, with the 21-year-old providing a rare glimmer of positivity in a dark campaign for Everton.
Branthwaite excelled on loan at Dutch side PSV last season and has impressed for Everton, with his aerial prowess and ability on the ball making him a natural, long-term replacement for Harry Maguire.
While United are believed to prefer a move for Marc Guehi, the Crystal Palace defender will cost upwards of £60m and Branthwaite, like Pickford, could be another player available for a cheaper fee if Everton do end up getting relegated this season.
Hojlund has yet to open his domestic account in nine games, while United’s forwards have just four league goals between them and often fail to offer anything to the team when not on the scoresheet.
Toney may not be the most glamorous name but his pedigree in the Premier League combined with his ability to bully defenders and score under pressure against the biggest sides would provide United with more value than any of their front line currently.
Arguably one of the top performers in recent seasons in the Premier League outside of the top sides has been Eberechi Eze and the Crystal Palace man would certainly be tempted to make the step up to a team like United.
The 25-year-old has produced a goal contribution nearly every three games since his £17m move from Queens Park Rangers in 2020, with his good form leading to caps for England and interest from United’s rivals Manchester City this summer.
Eze did pen a new long-term contract with Palace earlier this month but it is believed to contain an unspecified release clause, meaning United could secure the services of a creative and versatile home-grown talent with relative ease.
Although United may look to target top homegrown performers in the Premier League, they have always been a club looking to sign young talent and there is no reason why that can’t continue under Ratcliffe by signing a player like Blackburn’s Adam Wharton.
The 19-year-old has already become an integral part of Blackburn’s team in the Championship, helping them push for the playoffs as a defensive midfielder who is as composed with the ball at his feet as he is with his tackling and work rate, boasting some of the best progressive passing stats in the league.
With interest already from the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle, Ten Hag’s side would have a battle on their hands to sign one of the best British teenagers around but United could offer Wharton a chance to remain close to home in the north-west of England and simultaneously pull off a shrewd buy to begin their new dawn under Ratcliffe.