Bayern Munich “step up efforts” for Man United target Amadou Onana – Man United News And Transfer News

Bayern Munich are ready to “step up efforts” to sign Everton midfielder Amadou Onana in what could constitute a serious blow to Manchester United’s transfer plans this summer.

Old Trafford officials are believed to be big admirers of the 22-year-old Belgian, with the belief emerging he could be the answer to United’s problems in the centre of the pitch.

Erik ten Hag’s side have struggled with a porous midfield for much of this season. While an unrelenting injury list has undoubtedly played a role in United’s issues in general, the ease with which opposition sides have been able to slice through their midfield was as true on the opening day of the season as it was last weekend.

Despite conceding 28 shots against Liverpool on Sunday, and an xG of 3.92, United were able to emerge with an unlikely point courtesy of a 2-2 draw. To put this performance in context, Liverpool amassed an xG of only 2.91 during the 7-0 demolition over United at Anfield last year.

And while Ten Hag was forced to field his 31st different defensive unit of the season due to injuries, the midfield unit on the pitch – Casemiro, Kobbie Mainoo, and Bruno Fernandes – is his current first-choice. Yet Liverpool ran rampant in the first half against this trio, who looked bereft of ideas and instructions from their manager.

This was equally true on the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign, however, demonstrating this is not a new issue.

United began their season against Wolverhampton Wanderers in August. The Midlands club had just lost their manager, Julen Lopetegui, a week prior, with Gary O’Neill having taken over the role with just a few days to prepare his new team for the trip to Old Trafford.

But, inexplicably, Wolves looked the far slicker outfit with a much clearer, more coherent game-plan. They racked up 23 shots and an xG of 2.49, yet somehow were unable to score one from this plethora of chances. This shot count was the highest recorded at Old Trafford by an opposition side since 2005; yet it’s a number which was again broken on Sunday.

United were able to eke out an undeserved 1-0 win over Wolves, through a Raphael Varane header, but the massive gaps in their midfield were as horribly exposed in this game as they were against Liverpool. The midfield trio – Casemiro and Fernandes, alongside £60 million summer signing Mason Mount – were helpless in the face of a Wolves side who won’t have enjoyed as much space again this season.

While Fernandes has performed admirably for large parts of an other side abysmal year for his teammates, and Mount retains good will as it is his first season at Old Trafford, Casemiro looks to have run his race.

The Brazilian lacks the speed and stamina to effectively cover the large spaces Ten Hag is asking him to do so. This increased physical demand also appears to have produced more injuries, with the 32 year old ruled out with a hamstring injury for over two months. Similarly, his technical ability seems to have suffered, with the number of errant passes and poor touches sky rocketing this season in comparison to last.

It’s evident, therefore, that United need reinforcements in this area, though they may also need a revision of the system Ten Hag is seeking to employ. At a minimum, a more mobile, athletic defensive midfielder is a must ahead of next season, with Onana fitting these requirements to a tee.

The 22-year-old Belgian is an imposing player, possessing a 6’5 frame with excellent mobility despite his size. He would offer much-needed height to an otherwise smaller United team, while providing the ability to defend large areas of the pitch much more readily than Casemiro. He’s also technically sound, able to pass forward accurately and confidently, though it’s an aspect of his game he must continue to improve.

With this skillset in mind, reports suggest United have made him one of their first-choice targets going into the summer; which is why Bayern’s attempts to jump the queue could prove such a decisive blow.

As relayed by The Peoples Person here, a number of clubs are in the hunt for Onana, including Bayern. While West Ham and Newcastle are unlikely to be able to compete with the allure of United, the German giants definitely would be able to, while also offering guaranteed Champions League football.

A report by the Telegraph contends Bayern are set to “step up efforts” to sign Onana, while Florian Plettenberg (Sky Sports) reveals a “new defensive midfielder is supposed to arrive in the summer”.

Though the German reporter indicates the “topic isn’t hot yet”, he believes this is partially due to the uncertainty over who will be Bayern’s manager next season. Onana remains a player of admiration for the German outfit, and they will not hesitate to target him if their new coach is also a fan.

One development which will help the teams in the hunt for the Belgian, including United, is Everton’s precarious financial position.

Yesterday, the Merseyside club were hit with a two point deduction, owing to breaches in the Premier League’s profits and sustainability rules. This follows a previous ten point deduction in November, which was decreased to six on appeal.

While Everton remain above the relegation zone in the adjusted table, two points clear of 18th-place Luton Town, it offers a worrying precedent for next season, should they be punished with a similar deduction in the future.

As such, Everton are likely to have to sell this summer, with Onana one of their most valuable assets. Jarrad Branthwaite – the young English centre back – is another potential option to generate funds, with United also believed to be in the hunt for him.

A double swoop by Old Trafford officials for the Goodison Park pair could be a mutually beneficial arrangement in that case, with United in desperate need of more speed and strength along the spine of their side, while Everton are comparably desperate for cash.

Bayern’s continuing appreciation of Onana offers a potential obstacle to this move, however.

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