Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick wants to fix the void which he believes Nemanja Matic will leave in midfield when he departs, according to a report.
Matic has had a mixed career at Old Trafford since signing from Chelsea in the summer of 2017. He arrived while Jose Mourinho was manager and, as such, enjoyed a prominent role.
However, under his successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Matic did not feature as much. In fact, 21 Premier League appearances was the Serbian’s best effort in any full season under the Norwegian.
Nevertheless, Matic signed a new deal in July 2020, which expires in 2023. While he does not feature as much on the pitch as he once did, the 33-year-old’s leadership skills are key in the dressing room.
Current and interim boss Rangnick values those off-field traits. But according to The Athletic, the manager believes the midfielder’s presence in games needs replacing before he departs.
As such, the source reports that Rangnick wants a tall midfielder – of a similar style to Matic – at Old Trafford.
What’s more, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice are his two main targets right now. The West Ham and Borussia Dortmund stars, who both feature regularly for England, have burst onto the scene in recent seasons.
Rice is now an established Premier League and England player and still only 22. Bellingham is four years younger, but there is just as much excitement over his future.
Nevertheless, prying both players away from West Ham and Dortmund in January will prove all-but impossible.
As a result, Rangnick may have to wait until the summer transfer window to make his move.
United tried to sign Bellingham before he left Birmingham last summer. Rice’s future remains equally uncertain as he continues to make his mark.
Bellingham’s Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland is another Man Utd target. However, the interest in him is also increasing.
Man Utd in Man City, Haaland fight
The Norwegian striker, like Bellingham and Rice, has made himself one of the most coveted players in Europe with his recent rise.
As a result, United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all had links with signing him.
According to the latest report, though, City are ready to pay Haaland’s release clause.
Indeed, he is available for £63million next summer.