Man Utd ‘put up’ £69m to beat Liverpool, Chelsea to defender as Romano reveals Maguire stance

Joe Williams
Man Utd transfer target Antonio Silva
Antonio Silva has been heavily linked with a move to Man Utd.

Man Utd are willing to pay Benfica’s asking price for Antonio Silva in an effort to beat Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea to his signing, according to reports.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a deal to buy 25 per cent of the Premier League club last month with the British billionaire taking over footballing operations as part of the agreement.

Ratcliffe has brought in Omar Berrada from arch-rivals Man City as the new CEO at Man Utd, while Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth is likely to join when the Red Devils can come to an agreement with the Magpies over compensation.

They are keen to overhaul the recruitment department with numerous reports claiming that Ratcliffe and INEOS are keen on bringing in three priority signings: a centre-back, a midfielder and a centre-forward.

And the centre-back could come in the form of Benfica’s Silva with Spanish publication Nacional insisting that Man Utd have ‘put up’ €80m (£69m) for the defender.

The report adds that ‘it is difficult to think that they can retain’ Silva for another season after his ‘masterful performances’ in both the Portuguese top flight and Champions League.

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Barcelona are among the clubs to have ‘received the call’ from his agent, Jorge Mendes, however the Catalan giants’ ‘problem’ is the €80m asking price.

It is ‘too expensive’ for Barca and Nacional adds that ‘the latest information suggests that he may end up in the Premier League’ with Man Utd ‘willing to pay whatever is necessary for Silva’.

They continue by claiming that Silva has also ‘attracted the attention of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain’ but that ‘it is Manchester United that is currently leading the auction.’

It seemed likely that Harry Maguire would leave Man Utd last summer but the England international stayed to fight for his place and his perseverance has paid off as he is back to being a regular for Erik ten Hag.

However, links to Bayern Munich centre-back Matthijs de Ligt and other defenders have seen more rumours about Maguire’s future at Old Trafford – but transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists the pair’s futures are not linked.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Matthijs de Ligt will wait to understand who’s gonna be the new manager at Bayern Munich before deciding anything regarding his future.

“Everything is open with Tuchel leaving so it’s very quiet now. There have been rumours about Barcelona and Man United but nothing is serious or concrete with any clubs in Spain or England yet.

“Many clubs are attentive to his situation but nothing else.

“Sticking with United, from Harry Maguire’s point of view, it’s always been the same in the last year.

“The club are open to important proposals… or they’re happy with him staying. They’re not desperate to sell Maguire.

“Also in this case, we have to wait for a new director to arrive, and then Man United will decide how to proceed regarding many players.”