Man Utd: Lukaku, Reguilon among eight ‘sensational returns’ Ratcliffe could sanction this summer

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd transfers Ratcliffe
Could Sir Jim Ratcliffe sign Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Reguilon?

With Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Reguilon linked with ‘sensational returns’ to Manchester United, who could Sir Jim Ratcliffe re-sign this summer?


Memphis Depay (free agent)
Freshly without a club after being released by Atletico Madrid, 30-year-old Depay has emerged as a potential freebie signing for European clubs and is being linked with several Serie A teams.

Man Utd splashed out £25m to sign Depay in 2015 and he – like most of their big-money signings – struggled before being ushered out of the door after a disappointing season or two in the Premier League.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear Depay’s move to Man Utd came too soon and he would have benefited from making this great leap after a couple of maturing years elsewhere.

Despite INEOS chief Ratcliffe recently taking control at Old Trafford, Man Utd are working with a tight budget this summer and the free transfer of Depay could be an astute move as he would add depth to an area of the pitch where head coach Erik ten Hag is seriously lacking.


Anthony Elanga (Nottingham Forest)
Man Utd’s decision to cash in on Elanga last summer for £15m was considered a natural progression under Ten Hag as the club attempted to make steps towards *once again* challenging for the Premier League title.

The same treatment was expected to be given to Scott McTominay, who ended up being one of Man Utd’s most reliable performers in a miserable season which saw the club take several significant steps back after Ten Hag’s promising debut year as head coach.

While Man Utd benefited from McTominay’s solid but unremarkable presence, the same can be said for Elanga, who would have been given plenty of opportunities by Ten Hag, especially considering the Jadon Sancho saga.

Is Elanga good enough to be first choice at Man Utd? Probably not. But he flourished during his 14-goal involvement debut campaign at Nottingham Forest and ongoing reports linking him with Newcastle United are certainly justified.

READ: Man Utd: Rashford, Casemiro sold and Mount stays as Ratcliffe gets rid of 11 in summer fire sale


Angel Gomes (Lille)
One of *very few* positives to come from the 2023/24 season from Man Utd’s perspective was the emergence of their youngsters, with Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund offering hope of a promising future in a season full of misery.

And had Gomes been offered more first-team assurances after breaking through at Old Trafford, he could be providing an exciting front-foot alternative to Man Utd’s midfield department.

Since leaving, Gomes (out of contract in 2025) has racked up over 100 appearances for Ligue Un outfit Lille and he’s coming off a 10-assist season, which should eventually see him earn an improved deal or decent move elsewhere.


Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Chelsea outcast Lukaku was the inspiration for this article after Italian media claimed Man Utd are plotting his ‘sensational return’ as they consider him a ‘Plan B’ to £34m top target Joshua Zirkzee.

Belgium exited Euro 2024 prematurely but Lukaku would be among the tournament’s leading scorers if it were not for VAR trolling him after netting 21 goals while on loan at AS Roma.

Lukaku’s performances at Euro 2024 added to his enigmatic tag as he’s far from spectacular to watch. But especially in Serie A, he’s a proven goalscorer and while his spell at Man Utd was littered with criticism, he still managed to grab 42 goals in his 96 appearances.

Zirkzee would certainly be a far more popular and long-term solution as Ratcliffe searches for a striker to compete with Hojlund, the loan/permanent (on a one/two-year deal) return for Lukaku would not be a disastrous alternative.


Andreas Pereira (Fulham)
Elanga and Gomes are examples of former Red Devils who have impressed as big fish in small ponds elsewhere after departing Man Utd and the same can be said for Pereira.

The Brazilian could never truly establish himself as a first-team mainstay at Old Trafford, but has found a loving home at Fulham and is coming off two highly successful seasons at Craven Cottage.

Another target of Newcastle United, Pereira has plenty of options to leave Fulham this summer and could provide decent cover for Bruno Fernandes, provided the Portugal international doesn’t leave this summer.

👉 Ornstein: Man Utd ‘now close’ to signing as the Red Devils ‘work to finalise’ first summer transfer
👉 Man Utd: Fernandes ‘decides’ to leave with Ratcliffe ‘satisfied’ with low-cost Barcelona ‘offer’
👉 Man Utd ‘offer’ England star to Barcelona as Ten Hag looks to implement a ‘historic squad clean-up’


Sergio Reguilon (Tottenham Hotspur)
Last summer, Man Utd re-signed a defender as Jonny Evans returned to Old Trafford, with an injury crisis forcing Ten Hag to play him with alarming regularity. And this summer, they are reportedly pursuing the signature of another former defender with left-back Reguilon linked with the Red Devils.

Reguilon’s move to Man Utd from Premier League rivals Spurs was one of last summer’s more surprising transfers and his loan at Old Trafford was prematurely cancelled in January. This was a brainless decision as his exit meant Ten Hag was without a natural left-back for the run-in as Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia endured injury woes.

The Spaniard featured more regularly for Brentford during the run-in and would only provide cover for Luke Shaw, who Man Utd should be looking to replace. 

📣TO THE COMMENTS! Who should Man Utd sign this summer? Join the debate here


Marcel Sabitzer (Borussia Dortmund)
Two players with a Man Utd history starred as surprise packages Borussia Dortmund reached the Champions League final. One is expected to return to Carrington for training with Ratcliffe switching his transfer stance and the other is Sabitzer, one of the stand-out performers at Euro 2024.

Austria’s exit in the round of 16 (via a thriller against Turkey) came came a couple of games earlier than expected after ex-United interim boss Ralf Rangnick and his entertaining side became dark horses to go all the way in Germany.

Sabitzer did not do enough during his loan at Man Utd to justify his deal being made permanent but has performed at a whole different level this season and this version of the 30-year-old would be a worthwhile addition to Ten Hag’s squad.


Wilfried Zaha (Galatasaray)
Zaha never came close to ensuring Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing as Man Utd boss was a success. Our ranking of their signings after his retirement makes for a bleak read, mind.

The Crystal Palace legend came back to haunt his former club last season as he contributed to Man Utd’s disasterclass against new club Galatasaray in the Champions League.

The Ivory Coast international was long overdue a big move away from Palace, but his switch to Galatasaray was somewhat underwhelming after he had been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea in previous windows.

Reports suggest he’s already eyeing a return to the Premier League and a potential redemption arc at Old Trafford would be one of next season’s more intriguing sub-plots.