Jarrad Branthwaite
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Manchester United No Longer Wish To Pay ‘United Tax’

Manchester United, as an entity in the transfer market over the last decade, has faced a rough ride when it comes to negotiating with clubs over the transfer of their players. The two most recent examples of that came at the beginning of the 22/23 season, when United paid £70m for Casemiro late in the window, as well as £90m for Antony.

Antony was a player the United scouting system valued at around £25m prior to Erik ten Hag arriving at the club, as he was a player on the radar even during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure in charge. It was a sign of the Red’s panicking late on in a transfer window, and being forced to succumb to the demands of the selling club in order to get a player in. There’s been more than five examples of situations like that at United during the last decade, and it has earned the club a reputation in the market.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 11: Jarrad Branthwaite of Everton applauds the fans during a lap of appreciation after the Premier League match between Everton FC and Sheffield United at Goodison Park on May 11, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)


The reputation meant that when United came in to try and buy players from clubs, the fee went up. Lower clubs would sit at the negotiation table with selling sides, and be given a certain fee for the players in question. That fee would rise exponentially if Manchester United came to the negotiation table for the same player. That is all set to change under the guidance of INEOS.

The Red’s are currently locked in a game of chess with Everton over Jarrad Branthwaite. United have already come to table with a lowball fee of around £45m, which was rejected out of hand by the Merseyside club. The new backroom setup at United when it comes to negotiations is stronger than ever, with Matt Hargreaves being a huge factor. Omar Berrada is also expected to close out deals when he begins official work on July 13th.

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Everton have to sell a player for a big fee due to PSR. That much is clear, and United are aware of that. There is very little chance the club will pay over £80m for a player this summer, which is the current fee the Blue’s are demanding for Branthwaite. The side from Old Trafford have absolutely no desire to pay that fee, and have informed Everton of such beliefs.

In the past, United would go for one player and one player only, willing to pay whatever it took to get that player. Under INEOS, it seems there’s a clear plan with players identified in the event a deal for Branthwaite isn’t successful. Jean-Clair Todibo and Leny Yoro are targets for United, as well as players like Goncalo Inacio. It’s felt that if a deal for Branthwaite is unsuccessful, the Red’s will pivot to one or even two of those defenders. Due diligence has been done, which is a major change from recent windows.

Examples of United overpaying are plentiful. The Paul Pogba transfer can be forgiven in a sense, although to let a player go for free and then buy him back for £89m is absolutely not the greatest business in the world. But the fees paid for the likes of Harry Maguire, who, is a phenomenal defender, but the fact United could have had him for £50m the season before under Mourinho and chose not to was an issue. The Fred fee can also be seen as a gross overpayment.

The managerial situation brought INEOS a lot of stick, but they have been working on transfers behind the scenes during that period. Discussions have been held with the entourage of Youssouf Fofana, and the club have identified a number of targets during that period for various positions. Milos Kerkez is a target, but they have been monitoring other left-backs during that period. One such is a French left-back, who we will reveal on AttackingFootball later today.

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Overall, it seems Manchester United fans can be content with the upcoming state of their club in the transfer window. INEOS might be new to English football, but they have come prepared with people of huge talent in good positions at the club. United have not been this prepared for a transfer window since the days of David Gill, and if things go right this summer, Erik ten Hag is likely to have a much more fruitful campaign than the one that just went by.

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