Manchester United have suffered a blow in their pursuit of Atletico Madrid full-back Kieran Tripper.
What’s the story?
According to The Sun, Atleti are refusing to lower their asking price for the 30-year-old England international, insisting that United pay his £34m release clause in full.
The Red Devils have been heavily linked with a move for Trippier throughout the summer window but were reportedly only prepared to pay £18m for his services, some way short of the Spanish champions’ asking price.
Nevertheless, the report claims that United are refusing to give up hope of signing the right-back, who is thought to be keen on a return to the Premier League.
Do United need Trippier?
Solskjaer will be fuming
Trippier moved to the Spanish capital two years ago in a £20m deal and has proved to be a big success at the Wanda Metropolitano, recording 11 assists in 68 appearances for Diego Simeone’s charges. He started 28 league games last season as Atleti claimed the La Liga crown, winning his first and so far only piece of major silverware in his career.
However, Trippier is now keen to come back to his homeland, and Spanish outlet Marca claimed that the Bury-born defender would welcome a move to Old Trafford. Therefore, news that Atleti are refusing to lower their lofty asking price will surely leave United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fuming.
Although their arrivals should significantly strengthen the 20-time English champions ahead of the new campaign, there are still some gaping holes in United’s squad which need addressing.
Solskjaer is thought to be in the market for a defensive midfielder this summer, while a more attacking option at right-back to provide cover and competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka is also believed to be high up on his wish list.
The former Crystal Palace youngster is undoubtedly one of the Premier League’s best one-on-one defenders, but his inefficiency in the final third is equally glaring, leading to United prioritising a move for Trippier.
His ability to pick out a teammate with a whipped cross or perfect set-piece delivery has formed a key part of Trippier’s game throughout his career and has earned plaudits from several onlookers, including England boss Gareth Southgate.
“His quality on the ball is outstanding,” said Southgate following a friendly against Nigeria in 2018. “There were two set-plays, the one just before the goal – a free-kick bang on the money – then the corner for Gary.
“It was a great delivery. But we also know his quality on the ball when he’s in the final third. Kieran has outstanding quality and that kind of profile in that position is very important.”
Whether United can reach an agreement with Atleti remains to be seen, but for now, a return to English shores sadly looks unlikely for Trippier.