Man Utd 'close' to naming first Sir Jim Ratcliffe signing after club slash transfer fee

Man Utd are ‘close’ to naming Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s first signing. (Image: REACH)

Manchester United are close to sealing a deal for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Manuel Ugarte as INEOS prepare to oversee their first piece of transfer business, according to reports. Discussions are said to be ongoing for Ugarte, who looks set to make a quick exit from PSG after a disappointing maiden season.

The 23-year-old arrived from Sporting Lisbon in a £51million deal last summer, signing a five-year contract at the Parc des Princes.

He was Luis Enrique’s third capture – following free agents Marco Asensio and Milan Skriniar – after the former Barcelona and Spain boss replaced Christophe Galtier in the French capital.

Ugarte’s switch ended links to a Premier League switch, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur credited with an interest in his services.

But he is thought to have been left unsatisfied with his decision after starting just 21 of PSG’s Ligue 1 games, making 37 appearances in all competitions.

And Ugarte has emerged as a leading target for United at the start of the Sir Jim Ratcliffe era, which involves a new-look recruitment team run by INEOS.

According to ESPN Uruguay, Ugarte is close to completing a move to Old Trafford after losing his standing at PSG.

The Uruguay international – with 18 caps to his name – is said to have lost the faith of Enrique but was growing unsettled in Paris anyway.

Manuel Ugarte is a Man Utd target. (Image: Getty)

PSG reportedly won’t demand the £51m to splashed for his signature last summer, and United are willing to strike a deal.

Old Trafford has been branded Ugarte’s ‘most probable’ destination. But there is claimed to be rival interest from Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

United were expected to more aggressively push for a new centre-back and striker this summer in anticipation of Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial’s exits as free agents.

Talks have taken place over Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee as Erik ten Hag looks to bolster his ranks at both ends of the pitch.

But Ugarte may be an emerging opportunity to land the first signing of the INEOS regime soon after his Copa America duties are complete.

Casemiro is expected to be among the players who United will use to generate funds this summer after a below-par second season.

Ten Hag will want to replace the 32-year-old with the right profile of midfielder that will complement Kobbie Mainoo.

Ugarte appears to have been the top target that United have landed on, and the possibility of a transfer is very much alive.