Man Utd aiming to repeat £60m Mason Mount transfer trick under Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Manchester United picked their moment to sign Mason Mount from Chelsea and Sir Jim Ratcliffe is keen to follow that blueprint.
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Manchester United are targeting players who will enter the final year of their contracts this summer as part of a major rebuild under Sir Jim Ratcliffe, according to reports.

Ratcliffe looks set to take complete control of footballing operations at United, once his £1.03billion investment into the club for a 28.9 per cent stake is fully ratified by the Premier League. The INEOS chief is already working behind the scenes on new hires, most recently poaching Omar Berrada from Manchester City to take over as chief executive.

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Along with any other arrivals in the recruitment of staff, Ratcliffe is expected to oversee major investment into the playing squad this summer but funds are not infinite and there is plenty to be done. It means they will still need to be smart with their money and ESPN reports that players entering the final 12 months of their current deals will be targeted.

Doing so will put United in a strong negotiating position, with player value tending to diminish from around the 18-month mark. That was a major factor in their move for Mason Mount last summer, given he had entered the final year of his deal at Chelsea and made it clear he wanted to leave.

Those in charge at Stamford Bridge initially wanted at least £80million for Mount but holding onto the midfielder would have risked losing him for a fraction of the price in January or as a free agent the following year. United eventually secured a deal for £55m initially, plus £5m add-ons.

A number of top-class players with previous links to United will enter the final year of their respective contracts in the summer, including Joshua Kimmich, Khephren Thuram and Ivan Toney. Should such players indicate their desire to leave, then it will almost certainly be this summer and likely at a reduced cost.

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Ratcliffe's investment into the club is expected to be fully ratified later this month and the petrochemicals billionaire is already laying the foundation for change. Having once described United as 'dumb money' and this summer will present his first chance to change that reputation. His investment will pump cash into United's transfer coffers but the club are still having to work carefully in order to remain within profitability and sustainability regulations. Manager Erik ten Hag admitted he wanted a striker in January but any business was purely outgoing.

The decision to get wages off the books for the likes of Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek has freed up some preliminary cash, while high earners Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial are both set to leave on a free when their contracts expire this summer.