Manchester United have made France defender Dayot Upamecano their priority for a new defensive signing according to several reports across Europe.
Upamecano has shone for RB Leipzig over the last two seasons, with his ability on the ball as impressive as his physical traits for such a young man. He has attracted interest from all the big clubs, but it was believed that he had put an end to speculation over his future for this summer when he signed a new contract.
Despite the new deal, Manchester United are reportedly prioritising his signature for this window and want to open talks with Leipzig about a potential transfer.
The move resembles that of the one Liverpool put together for Naby Keita back in 2017. After the Guinea midfielder signed a new deal with a release clause, Liverpool tried to open negotiations about a move. While Leipzig initially completely refused to talk, in the end they relented. Liverpool agreed to pay more than the not-yet-active release clause and postpone the contract start date by a year, meaning Leipzig kept the player as initially planned and made extra money on the player.
Something similar may be needed to convince them to part with their biggest asset at a time where he has just committed to the club for extra years.
According to reports, Upamecano’s new contract contains a release clause of €42.5million but doesn’t become active until the summer of 2021. As of right now, there is no set amount of money that the club would be forced to accept. They are well aware however that next year the player will be snapped up, and quickly, for that amount. If they can generate a bidding war that potentially exceeds that amount by some way, they may go for it.
United would likely need to offer around €50million to even get Leipzig talking to them and if other clubs became involved in the process they’d have a decision to make on whether or not they are willing to go higher. As far as Leipzig are concerned, Upamecano is not for sale unless they’re presented with an offer they cannot refuse.
That means there is no working number out there, at least publicly anyway, that the Red Devils can negotiate down from and work their way towards an agreement with. They need to go in blind and strong.
Upamecano is a top talent and prospective world-class centre-back, but right now he is far from the complete article. He’s rash in the tackle, has concentration lapses and sometimes gets carried away with his ball-playing abilities and takes unnecessary risks. Putting him alongside Harry Maguire would see the club building for the future whilst also improving their current line.
It would represent a shrewd business move and after the signing of Donny Van de Beek was concluded relatively quickly, if they could follow that up with this signing it could potentially represent an upturn in fortunes for the club in the transfer market going forward.