Max Aarons is Atletico Madrid’s preferred successor to Kieran Trippier, according to reports.
Trippier, 30, has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to provide competition at right-back for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
As a result, Atletico have started to draw up a list of replacements, and, according to the Mirror, Aarons is firmly at the top.
His performances for Norwich City have drawn admiring glances from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal all registering their interest.
The Canaries will demand a fee of around £25m for the 21-year-old, who, if sold, would be the second Norwich player to depart for big money this summer after Emi Buendia’s record-breaking switch to Aston Villa.
Any move to Madrid, though, hinges on whether United can stump up the money for Trippier, with Atletico demanding a fee of £35m.
United value him closer to £10m, and had a bid of that amount rejected last month. They are expected to return to the Spanish champions with an improved offer.
Trippier is thought to be keen on the idea of a return to Greater Manchester, the region he grew up in and where his family are based.
At the very least, he would provide back-up to Wan-Bissaka, and may even push for a starting role.
Dean Ashton, for one, thinks he’s a more rounded defender than United’s current first-choice right-back. “What he’s become defensively under [Diego] Simeone and how he’s grown as a player, you would say he’s a lot better than Wan-Bissaka when it comes to getting forward,” the retired striker told talkSPORT.
“So defensively, Trippier has improved so much and going forward he’s a lot better than Wan-Bissaka.
“Wan-Bissaka’s got lots of room to improve but he needs to do that quickly to add what Luke Shaw has added, which is a genuine threat game in, game out.
“Wan-Bissaka needs to improve in that sense. I think he can, but if you want somebody who’s ready-made and has got both of those abilities then Trippier would be that.”